Space Research Corporation

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Space Research Corporation (SRC) was a corporation founded by Gerald Bull, after the budget for his research at Project HARP for the United States and Canadian federal governments was cut in 1967, in order to commercialize the technology of long-range artillery. Project HARP's assets were then given to the newly formed SRC. The main facility of SRC was 6,000 acres (2,400 ha), straddling the Canada – United States border between Highwater, Quebec, and North Troy, Vermont. Affiliated companies included SRCQ (SRC Quebec), SRCI, Paragon, PRB (Belgian corporation), and SRCB (SRC Belgium).

Background[edit]

In 1965, McGill University sponsored the Aeroballistic Laboratory (alternately the McGill Aeroballistic Test Center) at Highwater, Quebec. Dr. Gerald Bull was the Director. The manager was R.C. Stacey.[1]

Artillery exports[edit]

SRC was a corporation founded by Gerald Bull, after the budget for his research at Project HARP for the United States and Canadian federal governments was cut in 1967, in order to commercialize the technology of long-range artillery. Project HARP's assets were then given to the newly formed SRC. The main facility of SRC was 6,000 acres (2,400 ha), straddling the Canada – United States border between Highwater, Quebec, and North Troy, Vermont.[2] Affiliated companies included SRCQ (SRC Quebec), SRCI, Paragon, PRB (Belgian corporation), and SRCB (SRC Belgium).[3]

During the next decade, SRC worked for a number of governments including the People's Republic of China, Chile, Taiwan, and especially South Africa, and SRC contracted with the South African company Armscor. SRC's main product was a modification of the U.S.-standard 155 mm (6") artillery cannon, adapted like his HARP system into a slightly larger smoothbore. The result was the GC-45 howitzer ("GC" stood for "Gun, Canada"), firing either NATO-standard 155 mm rounds, or, more typically, a new shell of his own design. The new "pointy" shell, designated ERFB (for extended range full bore) offered considerably better aerodynamics than the original; it was spun by fins on the shell rather than rifling in the barrel and was supported in the gun barrel by four aerodynamic nubs allowing the middle of the shell to be elongated and thus reducing drag. The shell was spun in the same way as conventional artillery rounds[clarification needed] with a driving band towards the base. The result was a gun that could out-range the original by as much as 50%, while at the same time being much more accurate. Standard NATO and US artillery of the time had a range of less than 25 kilometres (16 mi) while the GC-45, ERFB combination had a range of 39 kilometres (24 mi). With the innovative base-bleed system developed in Sweden this range could be increased to 49 kilometres (30 mi) without loss of accuracy.

South African connection[edit]

The GC-45 work was paid for by the South Africans, but it has been claimed that Bull did the work largely at the urging of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who considered South Africa as a defence against Soviet operations in Angola. Used in South Africa as the G5 howitzer, the new guns were used near the Angolan border in 1986 when South Africa invaded the former Portuguese colony of Angola, in order to assist UNITA. Because the Marxist government of Angola was aided by Cuban troops and Soviet artillery, it was also suggested that the CIA had encouraged the South Africans to invade the country in 1975 at the beginning of the Angolan Civil War. The G5 howitzers were instrumental in securing success in Angola, although wider strategic considerations led to South Africa's eventual withdrawal.

Arms embargo[edit]

Although the 1977 United Nations mandatory arms embargo prohibited the export of arms to South Africa, Bull's SRC supplied the apartheid regime with gun barrels and 30,000 shells, worth more than $30 million. The CIA were said to have encouraged the deal and the shipment on the MV Tugelaland was with the co-operation of Israeli Military Industries. U.S. Customs initially considered prosecuting as many as 15 people involved but decided to indict just Bull and his partner, Rogers Gregory. Bull pleaded guilty, expecting a fine, but was angered when during 1980 he was imprisoned for four months. The effect of his guilty plea meant that the court did not hear any evidence of the suspected U.S. government collusion concerning these arms exports to South Africa. As a result of the arms embargo violation, however, SRC was liquidated.

The company was subsequently re-incorporated in Brussels where Bull managed it for several years. He was murdered during 1990, it is commonly conjectured by MOSSAD.[4]

Gun development[edit]

After the Canadian site was abandoned, a cannon was found there measuring 172 feet (52 m) in length, surmised to be the longest in the world.[5]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Hayes, Lloyd T. (September 15, 1965). "McGill Aeroballistics Test Center At Highwater, Que.". Newport Daily Express (Newport, Vermont). p. 11. 
  2. ^ John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand, Ralph H. Orth. The Vermont encyclopedia. p. pg 71. Retrieved November 24, 2008. 
  3. ^ Tena, Starr (October 2009). "Life and Work at Space Research". Vermont's Northland Journal 8 (7): 4–5. 
  4. ^ Graf, Richard K. "A Brief History of the HARP Project". Encyclopedia Astronautica. astronautix.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  5. ^ Braithwaite, Chris (June 4, 2014). "Quebec exhibit brings Bull back to light". The Chronicle (Barton, Vermont). pp. 1B. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 

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