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France Innovates by Integrating Artificial Intelligence into CAESAR 155mm Howitzer.

| Defense News Army 2024

The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, revealed at the 'Artillery for Ukraine' coalition launch in Paris on January 18, 2024, that France is taking a significant leap in military technology. The enhancement of the CAESAR self-propelled howitzer's firing precision is now in the hands of Helsing AI, a leading startup specializing in artificial intelligence for military applications.
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French army CAESAR 155mm 6x6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer. (Picture source Army Recognition Group)

In December 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced its intention to use artificial intelligence in its CAESAR 155mm 8x8 self-propelled howitzers to reduce ammunition use by 30% for targeting and hitting objectives.

The CAESAR, already equipped with advanced features like automatic 'repointing' after each shot, a ballistic computer, and a Sagem Sigma 30 inertial navigation center, is set to become even more sophisticated with the integration of AI technologies. The primary focus is to lessen reliance on GPS coordinates, a crucial factor in artillery accuracy, making it resilient to potential GPS signal disruptions.

An intriguing aspect of this development is the potential use of 'computer vision'. This technology could enable the CAESAR to interpret and understand images or video streams, particularly from drones unaffected by satellite geolocation signal jamming. This feature draws parallels with the U.S. Army's ATLAS system, which employs a similar approach to enhancing the targeting capabilities of armored vehicles.

Moreover, the integration of AI could lead to the development of algorithms that assist in prioritizing targets based on the threat level, further enhancing the strategic capabilities of French artillery. While specifics of the AI's role in improving the CAESAR's precision are yet to be detailed, this initiative marks a significant step in the fusion of artificial intelligence and military hardware, positioning France at the forefront of modern warfare technology.

The CAESAR (Acronym in French: Camion Équipé d'un Système d'Artillerie - Truck equipped with Artillery System) howitzer is a highly advanced piece of military artillery developed by the French company Nexter. It is essentially a self-propelled 155 mm/52-caliber gun mounted on a 6x6 or 8x8 truck chassis, offering a unique combination of firepower, mobility, and rapid deployment capabilities. The CAESAR is capable of firing six rounds per minute, with a maximum firing range of approximately 40 kilometers using standard shells, and over 50 kilometers with extended-range ammunition. Its design enables it to be easily airlifted and deployed in various terrains, making it a versatile choice for modern armed forces.

The system is known for its high level of automation and accuracy. It includes features such as an automatic shell loading system, a ballistic computer, and an inertial navigation system. The CAESAR's advanced fire control system allows it to be integrated with various C4ISR systems (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), enhancing its operational effectiveness. The integration of artificial intelligence and technologies like computer vision is expected to further enhance its precision and targeting capabilities, reducing the dependency on traditional methods like GPS coordinates for targeting. This makes the CAESAR a cutting-edge artillery system, combining traditional firepower with modern technology.

Defense News January 2024

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