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  1. Project
16 February 2021

Caesar 155mm Artillery System

The Caesar artillery system is in service with several countries including France, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.
The Caesar artillery system is manufactured by Nexter Systems.
Caesar was demonstrated in France, Malaysia, and the US.
The Caesar artillery system was designed to meet the fire support requirement of rapid deployment forces.

The Caesar truck-mounted artillery system is a 155mm 52-calibre self-propelled gun developed by Nexter Systems (formerly Giat), based in Versailles, in cooperation with Lohr Industrie of Hangenbieten, France.

Initial five systems were ordered by the French Army and were delivered in June 2003 for technical and operational evaluation. In December 2004, Giat was awarded a contract for 72 Caesar systems to equip eight land artillery batteries of the French Army, to replace towed TRF1 howitzer systems.

Caesar entered production in June 2006. The first vehicle was delivered to the French Army in April 2007 for extensive firing trials.

The first production Caesar system was delivered to the French Army in July 2008. Seven further systems were delivered by the end of 2008.

Caesar 6×6 design and features

The Caesar 6×6 artillery system evolved from the earlier 155 AM F3 automotive gun, which used the chassis of the AMX-13 light tank.

Caesar is equipped with all the systems needed for independent operation, a cabin to protect the six-man gun crew against shell fragments and small arms fire, an initial ammunition supply of 16 complete rounds, and instrumentation for navigation, aiming, ballistic calculations and command aids. The system was specifically designed to meet the fire support requirements of rapid deployment forces.

The Caesar 6×6 has a combat weight of less than 18t. It has an overall length of 10m, a height of 3.7m (2.7m in air transport configuration), and a width of 2.55m. The system can be operated by four to five men.

The combat weight of the 8×8 system is 32t. The howitzer system has a length of 12.3m, a height of 3.1m, and a width of 2.8m. The system requires a crew of up to five men.

Orders and deliveries of Caesar 155mm artillery system

Giat entered an agreement with United Defense (now BAE Systems Land and Armaments) in March 2004 for that company to market Caesar in the US.

In September 2004, Giat signed a teaming agreement with ADI of Australia (now, Thales Group) to offer Caesar to the Australian Army for its Land 17 artillery replacement programme.

Thailand placed an order for six Caesar systems for the Thai Army, the first export order for the system in April 2006. Deliveries were completed in 2010.

In July 2006, an order for 80 systems was placed by the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). The systems are mounted on a Unimog 6×6 chassis. The SANG received first four Caesar 155mm self-propelled artillery systems in March 2010.

The Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) signed a contract for the procurement for 15 units of Caesar 8×8 artillery systems from Nexter Systems with an option for further six units, in May 2017. The contractual scope also includes a shooting management system, initial spare parts packaging, initial training, and a ten-year service agreement. Four additional Caesar 8×8 systems were ordered by DALO in October 2019. Denmark received only two Caesar test artillery systems as deliveries were delayed due to the production impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nexter Group signed a cooperation agreement with Czech Republic-based company STV Group in September 2021. The Czech firm is responsible for the local supply of shells and modular charges, which will be used on the Caesar artillery system.

Czech Republic officially ordered 52 units of Caesar self-propelled artillery guns in 8×8 wheeled drive version in September 2021. It became the third customer in Europe and seventh user of the Caesar artillery system in the world through the contract.

The French integrated structure for maintaining land equipment in operational condition (SIMMT) awarded a second in-service support contract to Nexter for Caesar artillery system in September 2020. The follow-on contract is an extension to the first contract that provided full support for the French army’s fleet of 77 Caesar artillery systems. It will support the systems for an additional period of seven years and four months.

Morocco agreed to purchase 30 Caesar 6×6 howitzers in September 2020.

Caesar 155mm, 52-calibre barrel

Caesar is equipped with a 155mm, 52-calibre barrel and can maintain a firing rate of six to eight rounds a minute in sustained fire, or three rounds in 15 seconds in rapid fire.

It features a FAST-Hit computerised fire management system, developed jointly by Nexter and EADS Defense Electronics, and an Intertechnique ROB4 muzzle velocity radar system

The weapon has an automatic hydraulic laying system and the loading system is semi-automatic.

The gun can be set into and out of action under a minute. The weapon system configuration and the provision of hydraulic drives give a time of approximately 30 seconds to take the Caesar out of battery.

A unit of eight Caesar self-propelled artillery vehicles can dispense, in less than one minute, more than 1t of projectiles, 1,500 bomblets or 48 smart anti-tank munitions on targets at ranges up to 40km.

Munitions

Caesar is capable of using a range of ammunition for deployment against protected and unprotected targets, to create counter-mobility obstacles to block the manoeuvres of enemy armoured forces and to obscure or illuminate an area.

Caesar can fire conventional high-explosive (HE) or new-generation cargo rounds, which provide increased accuracy and terminal effectiveness.

The Ogre shell, which is in series production for the French Army, is an anti-tank and fragmentation bomblet dispensing round for use against relatively unprotected area targets such as command posts, artillery batteries, light armoured vehicles or logistic sites.

Ogre dispenses 63 bomblets, each fitted with a self-destruct mechanism. The bomblets are capable of penetrating more than 90mm of armour. A salvo of six Ogre shells releases 378 bomblets to saturate an area of 3ha at a range of 35km.

Bonus rounds with smart submunitions can be launched against tanks and other types of medium and heavy armoured vehicles. Bonus rounds have been developed by Nexter Ammunition and Intertechnique of France, and Bofors of Sweden.

The Bonus round carries two smart anti-tank submunitions to a range of 34km. A top-attack flight profile delivers the explosively formed penetrator (EFP) warhead to the roof of the tank which is generally more vulnerable than the heavily armour-protected sides and front.

Base bleed shells provide a considerably increased range by filling the vacuum and reducing the turbulence behind the projectile without any loss of accuracy.

The maximum range of extended range full bore-base bleed (ERFB-BB) rounds is up to 42km.

Caesar 155mm artillery system fire control

The French Army’s Caesar is integrated with the Thales Land and Joint Systems Atlas artillery C4I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) system. The system provides onboard terminals for communications and real-time firing sequence management including forwarding of fire-support requests and transmission of firing orders according to target type, ammunition type and gun availability.

Caesar 155mm artillery system navigation and control

Caesar’s weapon system has autonomous capabilities due to an inertial navigation system and a ballistic computer.

SAGEM Sigma 30 navigation system and global positioning system (GPS) are fitted to avoid the need for topographical teams and goniometers.

Caesar 155mm artillery system platforms and performance

Prototypes of Caesar used the Daimler-Benz Unimog 6×6 series chassis, which was ordered by Saudi Arabia. Production systems for France and Thailand are mounted on the Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa 5 6×6. Sherpa 5 has a 5t payload capacity.

The Danish armed forces’ Caesar 8×8 howitzers are mounted on the four-axle Tatra Force truck chassis. The system in its basic configuration uses the entire drivetrain made by Tatra Trucks. The all-wheel drive chassis features air suspension on all axles.

Caesar has an unrefuelled travel range of 600km and maximum speed of 100km/h. A centralised ground pressure distribution system gives a maximum speed of 50km/h on hardened tracks. The system has a six-cylinder diesel engine, developing 240hp and a power-to-weight ratio of 13.6hp/t.

Excluding its crew and ready ammunition supply, Caesar can be carried in a single load of a C-130 Hercules transporter. It is also transportable by A-400, IL76, and C-17 aircraft.

Survivability of Caesar artillery system

The artillery system can fire six rounds and scoot within two minutes, providing enhanced survivability. The protected cab can be covered with an add-on optional armour kit up to level 2 STANAG 4569 protection.

Contractors

Hydrema signed a cooperation agreement with Nexter Group in December 2014 which included logistic support for Caesar artillery system.

Nexter contracted French company Eurenco to manufacture and supply 70,000 modules of modular artillery charges for the French Army’s Caesar artillery system.

Excalibur Army was engaged to assemble Caesar artillery system for Czech Republic. RETIA is responsible for integrating communication systems and related equipment for fire control. STV Group and Explosia were selected to supply conventional shells and modular charges.

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