Supergun, also known as ‘Big Babylon,” was officially constructed to fire satellites into the space orbit. Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi president, initially commissioned project Babylon. The project of firing satellites initiated in the year 1988, later terminated after the assassination of Bull in the year 1990. This termination led to the confiscation of the parts of the supergun in the transit around Europe. After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the United Nations destroyed the remaining parts of the gun that were present in Iraq.
What is supposedly the leading cause of Bull’s death?
The Big Babylon project sounded like it could have been something straight from a James Bond Novel. The initial idea of starting Project Babylon by Gerald Bull was to have a cost-effective way to launch the satellites into space. Although Canadians and Americans scrapped the idea of it, Bull still kept working on this idea, and he set up a private company for Funds.
In the late ’70s, Space Research Corporation, the private company of Gerald Bull, was caught selling illegal 50,000 artillery shells to South Africa. Hence, he was found guilty in the case of fraud and sent to be in prison for six months. In late 1981, he approached Saddam Hussein for funds. He received 25 million dollars from the Iraqi government, later in the year 1988, and then began with his endeavor. He used the funds to manufacture components of Big Babylon gun and also Baby Babylon, the smallest weapon. The baby gun was designed in a way that it can just aim at a projectile of 3 feet.
Initial superguns were horizontally mounted devices and simply used as a preliminary device for testing. The length of the barrel was 151 feet, a bore of 13.8 inches, and it weighed approx. 102 tonnes. The test was conducted by setting up this gun on the hillside at a 45-degree angle and expected to cover around 750kms. It weighed similar to that of World War II “large-caliber guns” of Germany, but these devices weren’t designed to have mobility. Hence, they were not considered as a security risk by Israel.
There are only chances that Project Babylon was initiated to be used both as a weapon and a device to launch satellites. The projectile of the gun made it unsuitable to be used in the wars. There were many drawbacks of using Babylon gun in the war, including factors like it was unable to aim correctly. It had a slow rate of fire, and also it left a distinguishable mark after being fired, which made it easy for the opponent to catch your location. Another factor that proved that it is not suitable for wars was its inability to move.
Although Gerald Bull could have offered his Project Babylon to any government in the world, he chose to provide it to Saddam Hussein, an Iraqi Defence Secretary. It played a significant role in his own death. The Project Babylon went cold after the end of its inventor, Gerald Bull.