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Al-Fao is a self-propelled artillery system designed for the Iraqi Army by the late Canadian weapons engineer, Gerald Bull. It is one of the world's most powerful artillery pieces, with a caliber of 210 mm and a range of 56,000 metres (35 miles). The Al-Fao weighs 48 tons and is claimed to be able to fire four 109 kg (240 lb) rounds a minute, with a top speed of about 72 km/h (44 mph) attainable on the road. Its projectiles could be filled with chemical weapons such as sarin, mustard or phosgene gases as well as conventional high explosives.
The weapon is named after the Al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq, which was the scene of heavy fighting during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s. (The difference in spelling is due to differing transliterations of the Arabic name.)
The gun was designed and built in Europe and was first displayed publicly in Baghdad in 1989. It does not appear to have entered into Iraqi service, however and none were captured during the 1991 Gulf War; the programme was probably cancelled thereafter. It was similar in design to the South African G6 howitzer, with which Bull was also involved as a designer, and appears to have been directly inspired by that system. The Al-Fao, sometimes referred to as G7, was a wheeled mount. While G6 is already a big and heavy SP, Al-Fao is even bigger. To handle the howitzer's recoil, the wheeled platform was not robust enough, so a very large muzzle brake had to be fitted. The Al-Fao was one of two similar self-propelled howitzers developed by Bull for the Iraqis, the other being the Al-Majnoon 155 mm howitzer (sometimes transliterated as Al-Majnoonan and based directly on the G5 howitzer, thus essentially a parallel development to the G6).
- "Saddam's Supergun And Verne's Columbiad" www.technovelgy.com., 12 October 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2011