Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Parent System: Caesar
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003
Total Production: 237
Total Cost: USD$800 million
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Description: The Caesar is an artillery system which combines the chassis of a 6x6 Mercedes-Unimog truck and a 155mm 52-caliber field gun. The Caesar concept offers high mobility, transportability, rapid deployment and high performance for shoot and scoot tactics. In less than two minutes Caesar is able to fire six rounds leaving the area to avoid the counterfire. All the equipment requested to carry out artillery missions has been integrated into the Caesar chassis, making it a fully autonomous system. The lightweight and flexible Caesar offers superior mobility over the existing self-propelled howitzers with the advantage of air transportability. It is exceptionally suitable for rapid reaction and/or highly deployable forces.
The French Army ordered five Caesar systems for evaluation purposes, several sources suggest that Caesar will supersede currently fielded 155 TRF towed howitzers in the near term. The testing and evaluation tests were completed in 2004 with excellent results. Caesar has attracted interest from many Armed Forces around the globe. The French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) awarded GIAT Industries the eagerly awaited first full rate production contract valued at €300 million on December 13, 2004. This contract covers production of 72 Caesars and logistics support for over a period of five years. The aim of this contract is to field eight fully-capable Caesar-equipped batteries in the French Army by 2011.
On April 3, 2006 the French Ministry of Defense announced that the government of Thailand was ordering six Caesar artillery weapon systems from GIAT-Industries. With this order Thailand became the first export operator for this wheeled indirect fire system. On 20 July 2006, GIAT Industires announced the award of an export order involving 76 Caesar truck-mounted 155mm/52 artillery systems. The end customer was not revealed by GIAT but it was assumed to be Saudi Arabia. These Caesar systems were mounted on a Soframe-Unimog truck instead of the Renault Trucks Defense chassis used on the systems ordered by France and Thailand.
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