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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).

SRC is considered to be one of the world's most innovate artillery designers, and their work has largely been focused on improving designs already in existence and working on new projects as they came about. The German PzH2000, Japanese Type 99 howitzers, and 155mm Advanced Gun System use SRC-designed gun systems.

History[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.

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).

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 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 & US artillery of the time had a range of less than 25 km while the GC-45, ERFB combination had a range of 39 km. With the innovative base-bleed system developed in Sweden this range could be increased to 49 km without loss of accuracy.

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.

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. The British and Canadian governments were also more willing to look the other way for some time. By the time...

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