A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Saddam's Supergun And Verne's Columbiad
Baby Babylon, a prototype gun approximately forty meters long, was constructed in the late 1980's in Iraq for Saddam Hussein. The intent was to launch weapons into space.
("Baby Babylon" Supergun prototype)
According to General Hussein Kamel al-Majeed, who defected from Iraq:
"It was meant for long-range attack and also to blind spy satellites. Our scientists were seriously working on that. It was designed to explode a shell in space that would have sprayed a sticky material on the satellite and blinded it."
Although this seems to be a science-fictional project at best, it was designed by a Canadian-born astrophysicist named Gerald Bull. Bull had worked on the High Altitude Research Program (HARP), which eventually resulted in a thirty meter-long gun that succeeded in firing a 185 pound projectile to an altitude of 180 kilometers.
Bull was hired by Saddam Hussein to work on larger and more powerful projectile-hurling guns in 1981. From then until he was assassinated in March of 1990 (probably by Israeli intelligence), he continued his research. He designed two advanced self-propelled artillery systems for the Iraqis: the 210-millimeter Al Fao and the 155 millimeter Majnoon. The Al Fao, weighing 48 tons, can fire four 109 kilogram rounds a minute for 35 miles from its 11-meter barrel. The Iraqis claim that the Al Fao and Majnoon can attain a top speed of 72-88 kilometers an hour on the road.
The Baby Babylon project pictured above was finally installed at Jabal Hamrayn, ninety miles north of Baghdad, in central Iraq [Jabal Hamrin MTS]. The gun was positioned along a mountainside at an angle of about 45 degrees. It was never used during war, and was destroyed after the Gulf war by UN teams. They also destroyed parts of a 1000 mm diameter supergun and propellant loads.
In his blockbuster 1867 novel From the Earth to the Moon, the Baltimore Gun Club creates an enormous cannon called the Columbiad to fire a projectile large enough to allow men to travel into space.
"You know," said he, "what progress artillery science has made during the last few years, and what a degree of perfection firearms of every kind have reached. Moreover, you are well aware that, in general terms, the resisting power of cannon and the expansive force of gunpowder are practically unlimited.
"Well! starting from this principle, I ask myself whether, supposing sufficient apparatus could be obtained constructed upon the conditions of ascertained resistance, it might not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?"
(Read more about Jules Verne's supergun)
Find out more about the supergun here and
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/12/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Anduril Lattice Anvil Counter Drone System
'These drones are autonomous-programmed to find and kill their victim, and then to self-destruct.' - Daniel Suarez, 2012
SPECTER Electroshock Round Fireable From Shotgun
'...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little
cases of glass.' - Jules Verne, 1875.
Electric Lasso Gives Police Options
'The blast of silver threads enveloped her...' Nolan and Johnson, 1967.
R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...' - Iain M. Banks, 1990.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'
Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'
Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'
Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'
Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'
SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'
Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'
Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'
Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'
Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'
Soulaje Self-Administered Euthanasia Wearable Prototype
'A young man... advanced with nervous strides along the gravel path which leads to the bronze doors of the Lethal Chamber.'
Midjourney AI Creates 'Théâtre D'opéra Spatial', Wins Art Fair First Prize
'... we'll give him in his brain what he needs for creation.'
Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
'Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards...'
Space-Based Solar Power A Priority - European Space Agency
'...vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power.'
Goldilocks Zones Found On The Moon
Hopefully, there are no Mynocks in shadowed lunar craters, chewing on the power cables of spacecraft...
Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
'...the objects moving about so gently and putting their instruments away were not living beings, but robots.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories