Ok, after much delay here is my opinion of these two systems. I hope FCUS that you are not some Gov Procurement type waiting to make a decision based on what I say!!!!!
Both these systems are 155mm 52 cal howitzer systems mounted on a 6x6 Truck chassis. From that description someone may assume that they are very similar systems, they are NOT. It?s obvious that both were designed to meet different requirements for their respective militaries, specifically with regards to size/weight limitations and crew size amongst others.
The above pictures and sketch showing relative space claim should well illustrate the difference in sizes and configuration of these vehicles.
The Archer is based on a Volvo Articulated Hauler, while the Caeser is based on a Renault truck. From a tactical mobility point of view I would have to give the edge to the Archer. That Volvo is a ?Beast?, but from a Strategic mobility point of view it?s clearly in favor of the Caeser with its ability to be deployed via C130. Now the Archer is touted as being A400 M compatible, however let?s just wait until that Aircraft is actually in production and in service with someone before we use that as a reason to favor one system over another!!
From a maintenance point of view I would have to give the edge to the Volvo over the Renault purely due to the environment and abuse that vehicle was designed to withstand. Ill talk a little bit more about maintenance later.
From an Armament perspective it?s very important to note that the while both 155mm 52 cal tubes the Caeser is JBMOU compliant while the Archer is not. The Caeser has a Chamber volume of 23 liters, while the Archers is 25 liters.
This range of charges is what gives the Archer a very useful MRSI (Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact) capability throughout a good chunk of its total engagement envelope. For quite some time I was unsure of the merits of the MRSI capabilities however I have came round to appreciating its value for guns operating in reduced numbers as is currently the case in Afghanistan and Iraq where 2 gun detachments are common spread around the Area of Operations (AO) in different Forward Operating Bases (FOB?s).
Where the non standard chamber volume lets the Archer down is in regards to what ammo it can fire. Due to the fact that the ballistic performance for this cannon is not standard, work has to be done on any ammo you wish to fire from it with regards to ?Firing Tables? development. This can be expensive. This fact alone I believe has hurt the Archer with regards to export potential. Also, when using the top charge many existing projectile and fuse combinations may not be able to withstand the loads.
Now the French have also developed a JBMOU compliant charge system with 2 different types of increments covering zones 1 to 6. This also gives the Caeser an MRSI capability however its not as wide as the Archers. I believe the Caeser however can also use non modular bag charge systems still currently widely in use around the world. For a Caeser user this creates a much easier logistics burden knowing you can fire coalition partners 155mm ammo systems with no issues. I asked a Bofors guy quite recently why they made the decision to not stick with a JBMOU compliant system. He looked at me with a very ?Pained? expression which I think indicated he was sick answering that question!!!! His response was ?Its called Progress?, which I can?t really argue with.
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