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Indonesia conducts loading trials of 155 mm howitzers for rapid insertion operations

An Indonesian CAESAR 155 mm being prepared for loading on a C-130 transport aircraft. (TNI-AD)

The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) has conducted loading trials of the CAESAR 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled howitzer system onboard one of its C-130H transport aircraft.

The trials pave the way for the first rapid artillery insertion drills involving the weapon type, which are scheduled to be held in August 2022, the Indonesian Army said in an 11 July statement. These drills will be conducted as part of Exercise ‘Garuda Shield', an annual bilateral military activity held with the US Army in Indonesia, the service added.

The loading trials were conducted on 4 July at the Kertajati International Airport in West Java. It involved a C-130H airframe from the Indonesian Air Force's Aviation Squadron 31 and a CAESAR 155 mm/52 calibre unit from the Indonesian Army Strategic Reserve Command's Field Artillery Battalion 9.

The Indonesian Army operates 55 CAESAR 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled artillery pieces, the first of which were ordered under a 2012 contract signed with French defence firm Nexter Systems. The weapon was first operationalised by the service in 2016.

Each weapon has been incorporated on a 6×6 Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa vehicle, which is capable of travelling over difficult terrain conditions. Each artillery unit can hold up to 18 rounds and is crewed by up to five soldiers.

When firing extended-range full bore (ERFB) rounds, the system has a range of about 42 km. This range can be extended by up to about 50 km when deployed with rocket-assisted projectiles.

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