SANTIAGO, Chile – Colombia has chosen Nexter’s Caesar howitzer as part of its efforts to modernize its army’s field artillery capabilities by starting negotiations on the first batch of four worth about $ 35 million, military sources in Bogota told Defense. News subject to anonymity for security reasons.
The French-made 155-millimeter six-wheel-drive howitzer was added to the list at the end of 2021, selected by the army earlier this month, followed by the government, which adopted the decision and allowed negotiations to begin. The Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the story.
The 155 mm / 52 caliber weapon can fire a wide range of ammunition, including LU, BONUS, ERFB NR and KATANA; LU munitions provide a range of 4.5-40 kilometers (2,796-24.85 miles).
Caesar underwent a demonstration in Colombia in 2011. As a result, Nexter was invited by the military to bid for up to 12 howitzers, with the order for the first batch of six planned for 2014.
However, political and fiscal problems have delayed purchasing plans. Acquisition efforts were resumed in 2019 and sources say it should include the purchase of up to 12 Caesar howitzers, but divided into three batches of four each.
The acquisition is part of the country’s efforts to modernize and increase its conventional military capabilities to counter riots and drug trafficking. As part of this effort, seven of the 13 towed General Dynamics European Land Systems 155/52 APU SBT howitzers in Colombia’s inventory have recently been repaired and upgraded.
The modernization program also includes the integration of the NELI positioning and guidance system from the Spanish Star Defense Logistics and Engineering. A version of NELI tailored to the needs and conditions of Colombia was developed jointly with the local company Dynamic Trading Solutions. NELI is used with Colombian 105 mm cannons and 120 mm mortars and will be integrated with Caesar.
The military has also acquired advanced mobile artillery simulators to support field training. The American company Force Improvement has provided four units since 2020, and a fifth was ordered at the end of 2021, although the price was not disclosed.
Placed in 120-meter (393.7-foot) truck containers, mobile technology allows full control of drills and exercises, simulating different environments and weather conditions, as well as a wide range of ammunition, resulting in more intense and better quality training for a small part of the cost of live exercises.