In the Royal Armouries collection are sections of one of the most infamous pieces of 20th Century artillery – the Iraqi Supergun. We have two sections of the barrel, weighing 2.1 tonnes, which have been the next objects moving into The Voice of the Guns gallery at Fort Nelson.
Development of the Iraqi weapon remains shrouded in secrecy – along with the murder of its inventor – but if all the tubes had been fully assembled the Supergun would have stretched over 150 metres and would have been able to send projectiles into a low orbit.
British Customs’ officers seized eight sections of the gun in March 1990 at Teesport Docks – as part of a consignment en route to Iraq. Allowing the Bahamas-registered vessel to sail with its consignment would have contravened a ban on arms sales to Saddam Hussein’s state. Investigations revealed the gun was part of Saddam’s “Project Babylon”.
If assembled, the gun would have been the biggest gun in the modern world. The weapon was the brainchild of Canadian Dr Gerald Bull, who was assassinated shortly before the parts were discovered.