To meet potential export customer requirements for a 155mm/52 calibre self-propelled (SP) artillery system with greater mobility than the current production Caesar (6x6) SP artillery system, Nexter Systems (Stand S9-260) has just completed the first example of the Caesar in the 8x8 configuration, which is being unveiled at DSEI.
It is based on the Tatra T815 (8x8) cross-country chassis with the power-operated 155mm/52 calibre ordnance mounted at the rear of the chassis, which is the same as that fitted to the current production Caesar system. The Tatra is just one of the 8x8 chassis available; the others being from Renault Trucks Defense, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Sisu.
The 8x8 Caesar being shown is fitted with a standard unarmoured forward control four-person cab, but one of the options is a fully armour protected cab. Gross vehicle weight would depend on the level of armour protection, but is about 30 tonnes. It is powered by a 410hp diesel engine.
The standard production 6x6 Caesar carries a total of 18 155mm projectiles and modular charge systems (MCS) but the latest 8x8 can carry 30 155mm projectiles and MCS. The 155mm ordnance has powered elevation and traverse and a large hydraulically operated spade is lowered at the rear to provide a more stable firing platform.
Caesar is equipped with an onboard computerised fire control system and a global positioning system/inertial navigation system.
It was developed by Nexter as a private venture but has already been adopted by the French Army, which has taken delivery of five pre-production vehicles plus 72 production systems; these have seen combat use in Afghanistan, Lebanon and, more recently, Mali.
The French Army Caesar systems are based on a Renault Trucks Defense 6x6 chassis, as are those deployed by Thailand (6) and being supplied to Indonesia (37). The 136 Caesars supplied to Saudi Arabia are on a Mercedes-Benz Unimog (6x6) chassis, although this has never been confirmed by Nexter Systems.