Talk:Project Babylon

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V-3 descendant?[edit]

I have this bit set that at least one of the Babylon guns copied the V-3 concept, with multiple firing chambers arranged at angles up the side of the barrel. Can anyone shed any light on this? Noel (talk) 18:31, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)


The article favours the satellite-launcher theory over the big gun theory. It justifies this by picking holes in the big gun theory, but fails to give critical consideration to the satellite theory.

Firstly, how can the satellite be accurately positioned? You lose control of it once you've fired it.

Did you read up on Bull's HARP project? The cannon is the "first stage." Final orbital velocity, circularization burns, and steering are provided by rocket motors on the projectile. Bull's Martlet projectiles were working toward this when HARP shut down. While HARP didn't get there, guided cannon shells (with rockets, electronics, and moving fins) have been fielded or tested.

Secondly, how can a satellite survive the Gs involved in reaching escape velocity in less than 500 feet?

It's only a few thousand or tens of thousands of Gs. As demonstrated on cannon-launched guided projectiles, solid-state electronics can handle this pretty well, and projectiles like those of the US's ERGM and LRLAP have worked on moving parts that survive cannon launches. Solid rocket motors also have an extensive history on cannon-launched projectiles. The engineering problems aren't trivial (ERGM, notably, didn't work well), but they aren't impossible.

Thirdy, Iraq is cash-rich and can afford to buy the services of eg Arianne (Iraq and France have close commercial ties, or at least they did have)

Fourthly, Iraq was involved in a long and p[rotracted war against Iran. A big gun would appear to address the country's needs *at that time* more than inventing a completely new way to put satellites in orbit.

Please balance the article by either removing the speculation that the device is unlikely to be a gun, or by including the valid questions about the sateelite launcher theory. Otherwise the article just looks like propoganda for Saddam Hussein.

The bias doesn't appear as strong as you imply, from what I can tell. The article says that the two prototypes were unlikely to be used as military weapons because they couldn't be elevated or trained but that additional cannons were planned that could be elevated or trained, making those more reasonable for military use. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me that a military weapon-development project would start off with proof-of-concept prototypes that weren't directly usable as weapons and instead had some dual-use nonmilitary application, especially when you're trying to do the project on the sly.
The lack of evidence that the gun could be aimed does not serve as evidence in its own right that the gun could not be aimed, and so is speculative as an argument against military use.
Furthermore, your first two objections to the use of a big cannon like this for satellite launching are unfounded. A satellite launched by a ground-based cannon would need to have on-board propulsion in order to circularize its orbit anyway, so it could perform course corrections after launch. And there are plenty of ways to ruggedize electronics and other systems to withstand a launch like that. There are already guided artillery shells, for example. Space gun should have some information about this concept in general. Bryan 21:04, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
From the Space gun entry: "a space gun has never been successfully used to launch an object into orbit."
Which is more of a problem with funding said projects to completion and finding a market than the technology. The necessary technologies have been demonstrated on military projectiles not intended for space use.

Who knows what it was meant for considering how it was never well planned (or well known) and failed for both purposes. (talk) 06:27, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Customs Seizure[edit]

The date for the seizure by UK customs is May 1990 in the Project Babylon Article and November 1990 in the Gerald Bull article. Anyone know a source to clear this up?

The BBC says April 11th 1990 :

confiscation of the barrel parts[edit]

>> which were disguised as "petrochemical pressure vessels" The parts shown are really looking like as they were intended for a pressurized vessel (or a vacuum apparatus) commonly used in the industry and research. I would say the flange is designed for a conflat (CF) copper sealing. One can see the edge that would cut into the copper ring. I don't see how this would be useful for a cannon. Is there some other source? What was actually destroyed by the UN inspectors in Iraq?

Re.: 'Barrel-parts': I have seen Tubes like this before, during my apprenticeship (I'm a trained engine-fitter), during a visit to the Mannesmann-works in Essen. These things are called 'Mannesmann-tubes'; they are effectively seemless steel-pipes. Mannesmann holds the worldwide patents for them- the production-process is a company-secret. A handful of companies worldwide produce the pipes under license. And- by the way: they are not really used for gun-barrels. They are used for high-pressure oil-pipe-lines... 01:05, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

PS.: If you don't believe that- there are some other images of the Duxford-exhibit on the net. Look them up- some show the face of the flange quite clearly. There are two grooves machined into the surface. Those grooves would normally take rubber O-rings. I'd love to see anyone designing a gun-barrel by piecing it together with the help of bolted flanges sealed against each other by means of two rubber O-rings. I found the Idea hilarious back then- today it just makes me angry. Angry- because those mercyless bastards created Saddam Hussein, because they played him like a fiddle, because they played this entire world like a fiddle. But above all, it makes me angry because they sent weapons-inspectors into Iraq who pretended to find weapons at a time when there where non left, who then blew up the remaining infra-structure...and who then used Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to co-operate with them to maintain sanctions which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths...and which resulted in children having to undergo amputations without anaesthetics, while the press, and the experts, and the politicians willingly allowed themselves to be played like a fiddle. The 'Super-gun' is nothing but a 'Super-hoax'. And- yes: That IS a personal opinion, not a verifiable academic paper. I no longer care. 01:28, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

The UK Government admitted during the 1991 Gulf War that the parts it had siezed were indeed, just oil pipes. It appeared in one news flash at 3.00am (I watched it) and was never repeated as far as I am aware. I have seen the parts of the gun on display, and they are just oil pipes.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:47, 30 October 2006

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Novel as a source[edit]

Is this serious? I request all information that was gleamed from that book to be removed as tom clancy exagerates and just plain makes things up.

Several of the other references are pretty fishy, too, casting doubt on the whole article Nik42 04:29, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Please consider that Dr Bull first tried to sell the Super Gun to his own country, Canada. He wanted Canada to have a space program and launch it's own satellites. When the CIA and the U.S. Navy set Dr Bull up with WWII battleship gun barrels he welded two together and attempted to shoot projectiles into outer space. He was able to reach an altitude of about 90 km. he said he needed something like 250km to achieve earth orbit.

When the Iraqis approached Dr Bull, according to sources in his book, they discussed launching communication satellites with the super gun.

The sections of the barrel are very similar to what the U.S. Navy uses as catapult tubes used to launch 50,000 lb aircraft from the flight deck. The two side by side catapult tubes are around 250 feet long and use steam pressure for the launch. The Piston inside the launch tubes are very ballistic in appearance and are not damaged by the flange seams where they are bolted together. I was a Navy Pilot and Catapult Launch Officer on the USS Kitty Hawk from 1967 to 1969 and am very familiar with Catapult launch tube sections. We repaired or replaced a few during my tour. We could shoot a F4 phantom weighing 54,000 lbs with 1,000 lbs of steam pressure from 0 to 250 knots in 1.5 seconds. I am making this point to put to rest the speculation that the flanges would have prevented the Babylon gun from being used as a cannon.

If Saddam had completed his Babylon gun he could have launched into space weapons that would have threatened the security of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia or any othr country who opposed him The French had already sold Saddam a working nuclear reactor to produce weapons grade uraninum but Iran tried to bomb the reactor and missed and a year later the Israelis destroyed the reactor flying U.S. supplied F16s. After that, Saddam went to the black market trying to buy nuclear material for a weapon from former Soviet Bloc countries. Speculation by every western country was that he was successful in buying nuclear material. The Chief of Iraq's air force said he witnessed nuclear material.

The Babylon gun was a severe threat to world peace. I do not believe it was ever intended to shoot a cannon shell in any direction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davew26 (talkcontribs) 04:33, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Ambiguous wording[edit]

However, during the 1991 Gulf War the UK Government announced that the parts it had seized were oil pipes and not parts for a gun, as Iraq had claimed throughout. Does this mean that Iraq claimed they were oil pipes, or that they claimed they were parts for a gun? I'm guessing the first, but I could see Hussein trying to bluff by claiming to have this gun Nik42 04:27, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Iraq claimed throughout that they were just oil pipes. I will reword this section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Exotic alloys[edit]

I've deleted from the article the claim that there were "special alloys discovered during the work on Baby Babylon that were unusually strong and light". It is unsourced and reads like black project conspiracy theory hokum. Dricherby (talk) 11:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Two points to add here:

1. The Supergun project was also codenamed "Shemsheddin". To students of Literature this name should be familiar from "the Arabian Nights".What is of interest here is that Shemsheddin had a brother "Noureddin".The implication being that if the supergun was Shemsheddin then what exactly was "Noureddin" ?.Read the sections relevant.This codename is not referred to here. 2.It is not mentioned anywhere here that the British Company "Matrix-Churchill" was named at the time (1990-91) as a principal in the illegal shipments of components for the Bull designed weapon,the components of which can be viewed in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ionides2 (talkcontribs) 06:54, 21 December 2009 (UTC)