Four countries have now ordered the Nexter Systems CAESAR 155mm/52 calibre wheeled self-propelled (SP) artillery system, which is now being optimised to meet specific export customer’s requirements.
The latest customer is Indonesia, which is to take delivery of 37 CAESAR plus a complete suite of 155mm ammunition, with the first systems due to be delivered from Nexter’s facility in Roanne later this year. Two battalions will each receive 18 CAESAR, with the remaining system being used for training.
A total of 72 production systems were supplied to the French Army from 2008-2011 and saw operational use in Afghanistan, Lebanon and more recently Mali. In the long term, the French Army hopes to replace its remaining 155mm TR series towed guns and 155mm AUF1-TA tracked SP guns with additional CAESAR artillery systems, which will then be the only conventional tubed artillery systems to be deployed by France.
The Royal Thai Army has taken delivery of six CAESAR, while an undisclosed Middle East customer, believed to be the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), has taken 136 units.
While all the French, Thai and Indonesian CAESAR are based on a Renault Trucks Defense Sherpa 5 (6x6) cross-country truck chassis, those for Saudi Arabia are based on a German Mercedes-Benz Unimog (6x6).
The Thales ATLAS computerised fire control system (FCS) is installed on the French and SANG CAESAR, although other FCS can be fitted and there are a number of other options, including a protected cab. Nexter is also offering CAESAR for the Indian market integrated onto a higher payload Ashok Leyland Defence (6x6), teamed with local firm Larsen & Toubro.
It has also studied the Tatra (8x8) chassis, which would offer greater cross-country mobility and more payload for increased protection or additional ammunition.