Chaos Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th (Airborne) Field Artillery Regiment, of the Army’s forward-deployed 173rd Airborne Brigade, recently fired the 155mm Bofors Mark II Bonus round while working with French Army alpine troops in Canjures on 7 March. The Sky Soldiers are using their airmobile BAE Systems M777 “Triple 7s” howitzer alongside the Chasseurs Alpins and their distinctive CAESAR 6×6 truck-mounted guns.
Developed in partnership with France-based Nexter, the Bonus MkII has a range of up to 22 miles and deploys a pair of independent submunitions that scan for targets on their descent, firing through the weak top armor of tanks and AFVs. Unlike smart shells like the Copperhead, which has to be radar-guided, the Bonus is fire-and-forget due to the nature of its autonomous submunitions.
Below we see a series of three really great shots of what the French label as TF Wagram, shown showing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh west of Mosul in support of the Iraqi troops engaged on the ground there. The force consists of just 150 gunners, security and supply troops and four truck-mounted 155mm guns. They arrived in Iraq last September and have been proving fire missions directed by forward observers embedded with Kurd and Iraqi troops.
The GIAT CAESAR (CAmion Equipé d’un Système d’ARtillerie; French: Truck equipped with an artillery system) is a self-propelled 155 mm/52-calibre howitzer, installed on a Renault Sherpa 10 6×6 chassis. Adopted by the French in 2000 for rapidly deployable troops, the set up is pretty light (17~ tons) when compared with the U.S. M109A6 Paladin which weighs 28 tons and monstrous German Panzerhaubitze 2000 which tips the scales at 55-tons.
Caesar was just adopted by the Danish Army last week and is in service with Indonesia, Lebanon (via French military aid) and Thailand who used them against the Cambodian army in a 2011 border dispute to good effect against 190-era Soviet-supplied Grad rocket trucks which they outranged.