Artillery: July 19, 2000


GIAT of France is working on several new designs for 155mm artillery shells. GIAT notes that most armies today want shells that are more accurate and effective. If a few precision-guided shells can do the job of 100 unguided shells (despite a higher cost), the supply system is easier to manage, the gun can move before any retaliatory fire, and politically-sensitive civilian casualties can be minimized. SAMPRASS is a GPS-guided shell that might enter service by 2008. SPACIDO uses a radar with the gun battery to improve the aiming of conventional shells. This allows less expensive ammunition to do the job of expensive precision-guided shells. The French are also concerned that the GPS system might be jammed by an enemy or turned off by the US. PELICAN can be fitted with a variety of warheads for special missions. These could include anti-tank bomblets, anti-bunker munitions, or a reconnaissance module.--Stephen V Cole


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