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8 Ways the Original 'Star Trek' Made History
Gene Roddenberry circa 1947. (Credit: Keystone/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
After piloting a B-17 bomber in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Roddenberry served in the Los Angeles Police Department before he began writing for TV. He created the short-lived series “The Lieutenant” before Desilu Studios (founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) picked up “Star Trek” in 1966. In an era before man set foot on the moon, the show introduced us to a 23rd-century world where interplanetary travel was an established fact: Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise (named for the real-life ship that turned the tide toward the Allies in the Battle of Midway) roamed the galaxy, clashing with alien enemies like the Klingons, Excalbians and Romulans.
‘For just a bloody cannon’: How a MiG-21 nearly took down a PAF Sabre on debut for IAF in 1965
A Pakistan Air Force F-86 Sabre in the Gunsight of an Indian Air Force MiG-21 in the 1965 war. | Photo: Author's collection
T he iconic MiG-21 and its various variants have served the Indian Air Force (IAF) well over the years. India is the largest operator of MiG-21s outside the erstwhile Soviet Union with over 1,200 MiG-21s having served in India when the IAF opted to purchase the MiG-21 over several other Western competitors in 1962. The MiG-21 was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft. It was a lightweight fighter, achieving Mach 2 with a relatively low-powered after-burning turbojet, and was comparable to the American Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter and the French Dassault Mirage III.
Since then it has evolved in capacity and capability and has been extensively used in conflict zones across the world, with approximately 100 MiG-21 ‘Bisons’ still in service with the IAF.
While the Vietnam People’s Air Force was the first Air Force outside the Soviet Union to score an operational kill on a MiG-21 against the USAF in 1966, the Indian Air Force MiG-21s had a very memorable encounter with the Pakistan Air Force during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Background — Operation Grand Slam, 1 September 1965
Pakistan attacked India at 0400 hours on 1 September 1965, launching Operation Grand Slam, a Divisional-level attack supported by two M48/47 Patton tank regiments on the Chamb-Akhnoor axis in Jammu and Kashmir to capture Akhnur and the road link from Jammu to Rajouri and Poonch.
Pak 7 Div + 2 Tank regt attack in Chamb sector. | Photo: By special arrangement
The Indian 191 brigade was taken by surprise and hit hard. The Pakistan Army (PA) offensive pushed the Indian Army (IA) units by its sheer weight to the banks of the Munnawar Tawi river, where a rearguard action by a squadron of AMX 13 tanks of 20 Lancers and elements of 3rd Mahar Regiment, supported by Indian Air Force Vampire and Mystere air strikes, slowed the advance of the famed Pattons tanks. The Commander of the PA 7 Division requested urgent support from the air force, wherein Pakistan Air Force Sabres crossed over the Cease Fire Line (CFL) and shot down three archaic IAF Vampires during this attack.
PAF Sabres in combat with IAF Vampires over Chamb sector. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
However, with the Indian counterattack having imposed considerable caution, the PA took a good 48 hours to reorganise and move forward across the Munnawar Tawi on the Palanwala-Jaurian axis. This allowed the IA to cross back over the river in good order and reorganise its defences around Palanwala/Jaurian.
In a sharp air action over this area on 3 September 1965, the IAF scored its first kill by Flight Lieutenant Trevor Keelor of No23 Squadron ‘Panthers’ as part of a Gnat formation led by Wing Commander Johnny Greene, ambushing the PAF and shooting down a F-86F Sabre jet. This air combat account can be read here .
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Keelor of 23 Sqn getting the first IAF kill of 1965 war over Chamb sector on 3 September 1965. | Photo: Author’s collection
The IA meanwhile evacuating from Palanwala, hastily deployed defensive positions in and around Jaurian town, awaiting to make contact with PA’s 7 Infantry Division and its armour elements early on 4 September 1965. By then urgent reinforcements in infantry and armour had been rushed in from Akhnur in support of their defence. Both sides realised the importance of Jaurian, beyond which the road to Akhnur and possibly Jammu, lay open for exploitation which would sever off the state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Indian heartland as per the laid down objectives of Operation Grand Slam.
The Indian and Pakistan Air Forces threw in their best air combat and close air support (CAS) assets to achieve local air superiority over this crucial battlefield — stakes for which were supremely high. On the Indian side, along with the Gnats and the Mysteres, a component of the newly inducted MiG-21s of the IAF’s No28 Squadron ‘The First Supersonics’ deployed impromptu to Adampur Air Force Base (AFB) to take on the threat posed by PAF jets, in particular the supersonic F-104 Starfighter and the much regarded F-86 Sabre.
The F-86F Sabres formed the backbone of the PAF’s air combat air fleet. | Photo: By Special arrangement
Jaurian–Akhnur axis. 1525 hours, 4 September 1965
Jaurian, the flashpoint of a fierce battle between the dug in Indian Army and the Pakistan Army’s 7 Division, was under a sustained attack by the Pakistan Air Force.
The PAF had detailed 31 combat air support missions against the IA all through the day. Of these, the highest density mission operating out of Sargodha was made up of a strike by 12 Sabres of No15 Sqn ‘Cobras’, led by their Commanding officer, Squadron Leader Irshad.
The strike package consisted of three Sabre formations of four aircraft each, each one of them operating over the target area for a period of not more than five minutes. The first two formations had been strafing the only road link between Akhnur and Jaurian with an upbeat resolve for the past fifteen minutes and had set on fire a number of IA trucks and other soft skinned vehicles with their 2.75 inch rockets fired from the Sabre’s ‘Mighty Mouse’ pods. As they left, the Pakistan Forward Air Controller (FAC) patiently awaited the arrival of the last formation over Jaurian.
High above them, four F-104s were providing top cover at 20,000 feet. The Starfighters, operating under Sakesar ground radar cover, were on prowl for Indian Air Force’s Gnats, who had craftily ambushed the PAF Sabres over Jaurian just the day before. The PAF was looking to avenge that loss.
Supersonic PAF F-104 Starfighters were the combat equivalent of IAF MiG-21s in the 1965/1971 war. | Photo: By special arrangement
Squadron Leader Muniruddin Ahmed, the Wing Operations Officer at Sargodha, led the last section of Sabres armed with two napalm bombs each. Munir, a happy-go-lucky and popular aviator in the PAF, was known for his legendary stutter that became more pronounced as he got excited. Guided by the FAC’s grid reference, his formation arrived over the target area at 500 feet. He scanned for worthwhile targets for their napalm canisters. Unlike the rockets, napalm was suited for widely spread targets.
“Target 2 ‘o’ clock, attack formation GO,” he chimed after making contact with a spread-out building complex which he assumed to be a military installation. His formation members tucked in tight around him in the ‘finger four’ position for napalm delivery. Munir gradually turned towards the target and rolled out while descending down to 200 feet above ground level for the attack run. “Stand by for release. Approaching target. Bomb release, bomb release now!”
The Sabres whizzed past their target, as the napalm canisters dropped lazily towards the ground, exploding in contact with the ground in massive fireballs, engulfing all inflammables in their maleficent conflagration. The attack went well, though Munir wasn’t sure if he had hit anything of value.
Sqn Ldr M. Ahmed led the PAF’s napalm bomb raid over Jaurian on 4 September 1965. | Photo: By Special arrangement
After the attack, Munir turned hard left, avoiding the base of the incoming hills and climbed to 1000 feet. Turning towards Pakistan, he took stock of his formation with a radio check. “Viper formation check in,” Munir queried, as the other aircraft replied in sequence, “Viper 2, Viper 3…” There was no response from Viper 4.
“Viper 4 check in,” Munir piped on the radio again. There was no response. “Where the hell is Nasir?” he scanned anxiously for Flight Lieutenant Nasir Butt, the fourth member of his formation. He weaved his aircraft around in a desperate attempt to look out for a tell-tale sign of an attack on his formation. He nearly did not notice the streak of fire leaving a smoke trail crossing his Sabre on the right. A shocked Munir instinctively tightened his turn away from the fireball on the ground, as the smoke trail hit the ground.
“They were under attack. But by whom? And what was that streak, a rocket or a missile? It couldn’t be! Gnats don’t carry missiles. Damn, where were the Starfighters?” Munir peered hard on either side of the aircraft and then shifted his gaze above.
His heart skipped a beat upon seeing atop the Sabre, not more than 15 meters and getting larger, the sleek underbelly of a silver coloured delta wing aircraft. As panic hit him, he recognised the IAF MiG-21 in earnest and desperately bunted his aircraft down and away from his tormentor, nearly crashing into the ground.
Then, the famous Muniruddin stutter overpowered and jammed all radio traffic on the Sakesar radar ops frequency, as he excitedly transmitted on the RT about the discovery of the MiG. He stammered convulsively, “Contact with a M-M-MiG-21. B-B-B-B-By G-G-G-G-God, he nearly had me.”
On that fateful day, Munir’s much vaunted radio call pronounced the arrival of the legendary MiG-21 in combat for the first time in the skies of the Indian subcontinent.
The MiG-21F13 (T-74). | Photo: By special arrangement
MiG-21 induction in IAF
The story of the MiG-21 in Indian Air Force service began in August 1962, when it was chosen over the French Mirage III and the US F-104 Starfighter to fulfill the Indian Air Force requirement for a supersonic fighter to counter the Pakistan Air Force’s Starfighter fleet.
The key aspect of this deal was the Indian insistence on licence production of the chosen type in India. Only the Soviet Union agreed to this part of the contract without strings attached, which made it possible for the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to start producing the next generation of combat aircraft in India.
Crest of №28 Sqn, Indian Air Force. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
The first batch of seven IAF pilots and engineers, led by Wing Commander Dilbagh Singh, trained hard at Lugovaya AFB near Tashkent in Kazakhstan. On return to India in 1963, these personnel formed the nucleus of No28 Squadron ‘The First Supersonic’ based at Chandigarh. However, like any initial induction of a high-performance aircraft, the squadron faced teething problems, especially as pilots struggled to carry our meaningful training on the six MiG-21F13s (T-74) available in the build-up year before the 1965 war.
The IAF’s MiG-21 pioneers. | Photo: Air Marshal B.D. Jayal collection
The MiG-21 T-74 was a Mach 2 capable aircraft armed with two Vympel K-13 AAMs (NATO code name AA-2 ‘Atol’) and a single 30mm cannon in the fuselage. The K-13 was the Russian copy of the famed Sidewinder missile, albeit not as sophisticated as the AIM-9B version of the Sidewinder being used by the PAF.
K-13 IR homing AAM. | Photo: Commons
In March 1965, 28 Squadron was bolstered with the delivery of six MiG-21PFs (T-76) variants. The T-76 was equipped with the R1L airborne interception radar, which could locate and intercept targets out to a distance of 20 km. The Russians designed the T-76 in line with the worldwide tactical philosophy of deploying missile armed aircraft only — the T-76 crucially lacking any gun armament like the T-74 it was supposed to replace . Modern missiles were considered sufficient to engage and destroy enemy fighter at combat ranges, with the guns being bespoken as weapons of a bygone era. This led to the production of the McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom, the English Electric Lightning and the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21PF (T-76), armed with only air-to-air missiles. Only the French with the Dassault Mirage III insisted on guns as an integral design as part of this generation.
The MiG-21PF (T-76) armed with 2 x K13 IR guided AAM. | Photo: By special arrangement
How wrong it proved for the operators of these aircraft, especially the USAF in the Vietnam war, whose F-4 Phantom crews found themselves helpless without guns against the Vietnamese MiG-17 and 19s, more so because of unreliability of the first generation of AAMs in close combat situations. It would be some time before necessary modifications were undertaken to carry a gun pack on these aircraft.
The IAF was destined to learn its own hard fought lessons over the adoption of this philosophy soon.
Initially not scheduled to take part in the 1965 war due to insufficient crew training, especially on the T-76, a decision was nevertheless taken to ship a major component of this fleet to Pathankot after the loss of IAF Vampires over Chamb on 1 September.
Under the command of Wing Commander M.S.D. ‘Mally’ Wollen, the 28 Squadron MiGs deployed to Pathankot on 2 September 1965. The pilots quickly oriented themselves and got down to the task of coordinating combat air patrol (CAP) sorties in conjunction with the IAF’s Amritsar radar unit, whose pick up on the enemy and close controlling would be the key for optimum utilisation of the IAF MiGs.
After flying some familiarisation missions on 3 September 1965, the day Trevor Keelor shot the first Sabre for the IAF, the MiGs were prepared for an offensive CAP mission under Amritsar GCI control for the next day. Mally Wollen would lead the mission along with his Flight Commander, Squadron Leader A.K. Mukherjee as his No2.
IAF Wing Commander M.S.D. ‘Mally’ Wollen. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
The MiG-21 would be making its combat debut with the IAF, a first outside the Soviet Union by any air force.
Jaurian–Akhnur axis. 1515 hours, 4 September 1965
The Indian Air Force had changed its plan to keep the Pakistan Air Force guessing! Unlike the day before, the Mysteres and the escorting Gnats would approach Akhnur from Pathankot on two different directions and rendezvous over Akhnur. The MiGs would sanitise the area under friendly radar control operating at medium levels, aiming to draw the expected PAF CAP component towards them, away from the Gnats.
Four No31 Squadron Mysteres headed towards the Chamb–Jaurian sector at 2000 feet to carry out rocket strikes against Pakistan Army Pattons of 13 Lancers threatening the Indian Army defenders at Jaurian. Rendezvous (RV), with the four Gnats of No23 Squadron, was planned over the Akhnur bridge. Wing Commanders Johnny Greene led the 23 Squadron Gnats, along with Squadron Leader A.S. Sandhu and Flight Lieutenants Pathania and Murdeshwar. Maintaining 1000 feet, the Gnats dashed towards the RV point, with each pilot itching for a Sabre scalp in the coming minutes. Reaching the RV point, the Gnats found that the Mysteres were running late and Greene set the formation into a loose defensive orbit over the Akhnur bridge.
Flying above the Gnats at 16,000 feet under a strict Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) CAP profile was the intrepid MiG-21 pair of Wollen and Mukho, who were monitoring the radio frequency of the Gnats and the Mysteres with keen interest. They were on the hunt for PAF Starfighters, who the IAF intelligence assumed would jump in to support the Sabres from their observed hold area across the CFL.
While at 16,000 feet the air conditioning had cut in for the MiG-21 pair. Though the impending excitement of the mission was working overtime on Wollen and he was still sweating profusely in the pressure suit, a must wear for all early model MiG-21 pilots. It pretty much was the same outfit worn by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on his space mission, used for high altitude supersonic interception profiles on the MiGs. For these, one climbed to 16 km in a quick action trajectory, accelerating to Mach 2.1, and then zoomed to 21 km, flying an interception profile with the radar pointed as per the ground control bearing, while accelerating from Mach 1.8 to 2.1. The IAF practiced this profile right until the early 1980s before it was discontinued.
For this mission, Wollen and Mukho were piloting the latest T-76 version of the MiG-21 and were armed with two K-13 AAMs each.
Two IAF T-74s flying near Jammu in 1964. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
Wollen was getting restless as the time passed without an update, “Confirm joy on any bogey,” Wollen quizzed 230 SU at Amritsar. “Negative contact with any hostiles,” replied the radar controller. “Boy, we will be sitting ducks if our radar doesn’t warn us of the Pak CAP,” Wollen contemplated and asked Mukho to increase the visual scan.
Close GCI control was the key towards successful utilisation of the MiG-21 aircraft during that era and it was not happening at the moment. Wollen throttled back to endurance settings while the MiGs setup a standard race course orbit, clearing each other’s tails. He switched his R1L radar to transmit as he peered into the small scope of the radar in an attempt to pick up any PAF intruders. The scope only showed widespread clutter, primarily due of the presence of hills abound. As Wollen was switching the radar off, a strident RT call from Greene, the Gnat formation leader, announced contact with enemy Sabres, “Contact with bogeys left 10 ‘o’ clock, four miles, same level. They are Sabres finishing their bombing run.”
Wollen carried out a slow roll inverting the aircraft, peering hard to pick up the Gnats below bouncing the Sabres. “Mukho, accelerate tactical speed and roll out course two niner zero,” Wollen instructed Mukherjee, as both MiGs accelerated to 750 kmph. Wollen intended to catch up with any of the enemy escaping towards Pakistan.
Meanwhile Greene had ordered the Mystere formation to abort their mission and exit from the combat area as the combat was evolving in the same corridor. As his MiG-21 rapidly accelerated to tactical speeds, Wollen got a tail clear message from Amritsar radar, who did not have contact with any aircraft above the height of the MiG-21s. Soon a charged up ‘Pat’ Pathania, the Gnat member from Greene’s formation announced, “Murder, Murder, Murder,” the ritual call of shooting down an aircraft. Flight Lieutenant ‘Pat’ Pathania had shot down Flt Lt N.H. Butt of the PAF, the fourth member of Munir’s formation carrying out napalm runs over Jaurian.
Flt Lt V.S. Pathania scored a Sabre kill on a Gnat on 4 September 1965. | Photo: By special arrangement
“Great, one down,” Wollen bellowed a hoorah inside the face piece of his pressure helmet. The MiGs made contact with the returning Mystere formation zipping below them. “Not far now,” Wollen thought to himself as he animatedly listened to Greene’s calls that the enemy Sabres had rolled homebound on course two seven zero and the Gnats were breaking off.
Incidentally, while Pathania shot down one, two other Sabres escaped due to gun stoppage issue on the Gnats, which prevented both Murdeshwar and Sandhu from getting a kill each in Greene’s formation. The Gnat was notorious for its 30mm gun stoppage in air problem.
IAF fighter pilots scrambling towards their parked Gnats at Pathankot. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
The PAF formation had no clue that it had been intercepted and one of its members had been shot down. The Sabres accelerated homebound, oblivious to the IAF fighters lurking in the area.
Air Sit map for 1–4 September 1965. | Photo: By special arrangement
Jaurian–Chamb axis. 1529 hours
As the Gnats broke contact with the escaping Sabres, Mally Wollen decided to enter the arena. Both the MiGs went into a shallow dive in an effort to spot the intruders. Passing 10,000 feet, Wollen picked up two Sabres flying abreast, crossing left to right, from below towards their frontal quarters.
“Contact two bogeys left 10 ‘o’ clock two kilometers, Mukho I am going for the right chap,” Wollen informed his No2 and carried out a hard turn to the right to create some much needed space and reversed back, scanning in the rear for any other enemy.
The Sabre was descending to low levels and Wollen engaged reheat to close in rapidly. In Wollen’s turn and reversal, Mukherjee fell back and lost contact with his leader due to the pressure helmet face piece obstructing his vision under ‘Gs’.
Wollen targeted the Sabre with his K-13 missiles. At 1.5 km, he got a steady ‘lock on’ tone on his left missile. Taking inputs from the fixed ring and bead gunsight about his range from the target with the radar useless at low levels, Wollen depressed the missile firing button on his joystick at 1.2 km. The K-13 missile separated from the left rail with a flash and ran towards the Sabre, suddenly changing its course and hitting the ground well short of the target. “Damn,” Wollen muttered as he saw the missile hitting the ground.
“It’s the bloody ground heat return,” he said, as he continued to close into the low flying Sabre, getting a bellowing ‘lock on’ tone on his second missile. He positioned himself precariously at the Sabre’s level and launched the missile at 1000 metres from the Sabre, flying a shade over 300 feet from the ground at over 850 kmph. The missile left the right rail and after flying a flattish trajectory for about a second, crossed the Sabre on the right and hit the ground. “What the hell?” Wollen was livid with wanton wrath as he saw the hopeless fate of both his missiles, while his prey was still flying safe and sound oblivious to the narrow escape on both counts.
Wollen’s anger took over his senses as he engaged reheat and rapidly closed into the Sabre. Furious at his predicament, realising that because he was flying the newer T-76 version, there were no guns to shoot down the Sabre .
“Well,” he told himself, “I’ll ram the bugger!” With that Wollen bore sighted his quarry and closed in rapidly with the intent to cause a physical impact. Wollen aimed for the Sabre’s rear fin. Less than 10 meters from the target, on course to ram the Sabre, Wollen let his reasoning take control of his emotions as he sharply pitched up and away from the Sabre, narrowly avoiding the looming collision by not more than five odd meters. He turned to the right and reversed, seeing the now panicky and much aware Sabre pilot making a dash for low levels to escape the “mad” MiG pilot.
For Wollen, who had been involved in an aircraft collision in the past and had survived, it was probably a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy!’ With the combat effectively over, Wollen turned back for base. He and Mukho joined together over Jammu and carried out an uneventful landing back at Pathankot.
For the second consecutive day, the IAF had ruled supreme and shot down a Sabre over Chamb-Jaurian sector without any loss. It was also a noteworthy day in the history of MiG-21 operations, with the IAF MiGs carrying out their first operational mission. They very nearly claimed their first victory on this debut, which, but for the disappointing performance of both the K-13 missiles, would have been indisputably possible — given the fact that the PAF Sabre pilot had no clue that he had a MiG on his tail.
Ironically, had Wollen been flying the older T-74 version of the MiG, he could easily have bagged Munir’s Sabre with the integral 23mm gun.
Muniruddin Ahmed was saved by sheer providence that day, having escaped from the MiG-21’s clutches by the skin of his teeth. He was not so lucky the next time. He was shot down over the Amritsar radar on 11 September 1965, with his fortunes taking a turn for the worse. He was much missed in the PAF.
Wollen on the other hand never reconciled to the fact that he missed shooting down Munir that day and remained acrimonious about it all his life. As a seething Wollen put across to his peers in the dispersal after landing back from that prodigious sortie, “For a cannon, just for a bloody cannon!”
Jaurian fell to the Pakistanis in the early hours of 5 September. However, the Pakistan Army 7 Division had used up all its reserves to achieve this feat. Operation Grand Slam had come to a standstill.
On 6 September, the Indian Army launched Operation Riddle, a Corps level attack on the Lahore front, widening the scope of the war all across the International Border with Pakistan, thus effectively sealing the fate of the Pak Army offensive in Chamb-Jaurian, as well as PA’s effort to restrict and confine the war within Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pakistan Air Force became aware of the operational status of the MiG-21s with the Indian Air Force only after Muniruddin Ahmed’s visual confirmation that day. Sakesar radar did not have radar pick up on the fight which took place below 15,000 feet, thus could not vector the Starfighters on CAP near the CFL to join the fight.
After that day, the PAF tied down a number of their air combat assets in exclusive sorties to track and bait IAF MiGs. This was to no avail as the MiGs did not fall for their methods. Significantly, the first engagement in history between Mach 2 fighters took place on 11 September 1965. A single PAF F-104 had a brief encounter with two IAF MiG-21s west of Halwara. The PAF’s No9 Squadron F-104 on being warned of approaching MiGs, pitched his nose down and accelerated to Mach 1.1 at tree top levels, making good his escape. The pugnacious MiGs chased the Starfighter at Mach 1 plus, but could never catch up, turning back for base at the international border.
The small force of the MiGs at Pathankot was also the primary reason why the PAF targeted this base with the largest number of bombing runs in the days to come, which did incidentally knock out two IAF MiG-21s (T-76s) being readied for a sortie on 6 September in a daring strike by PAF’s No19 Squadron.
A crucial advantage the PAF had against the IAF in 1965 war was due to the FPS-20 and FPS-6 radar systems available to them through the US arms aid. This allowed extensive ground controlled interception vectors to the PAF pilots allowing them to achieve advantageous positions in a battle — the key to winning a dogfight.
India only had ground observers with radios supported by one major early warning radar system based at Amritsar. The PAF Starfighter and the Sabre were also equipped with the AIM-9B Sidewinder, an IR guided missile having a much better performance than the early model K-13s employed by IAF MiGs on 4 September. The PAF scored at least 3 AAM kills against the IAF in 1965 using these missiles. In the coming years, the IAF worked hard to acquire elaborate Soviet & French Air Defence radars and thus achieved a much better situational awareness to vector fighters like the MiG-21, which were designed to work best using GCI control for initial positioning.
Even though their contribution was limited to CAP duties in 1965, the MiG-21 pilots of No28 Squadron set the ball rolling for the widespread acceptance of the MiG in the post war years, having gained, and putting to effective use their 1965 wartime experiences. The effort bore effectual dividend for the IAF in the 1971 war.
Flypast over India gate by four MiG-21FLs in 1967 led by Mally Wollen. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
Post 1965 war MiG-21 utilisation by IAF
After the war, the Indian Air Force started receiving the MiG-21FL version in 1966. The 1971 war witnessed the first supersonic air combat in the subcontinent when an IAF MiG-21FL shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-104 Starfighter with its GSh-23 twin-barrelled 23 mm cannon. By the time the hostilities came to an end, the IAF MiG-21FLs had claimed four PAF F-104, two Shenyang F-6, one F-86 Sabre and one C-130 Hercules.
According to Western military analysts, the MiG-21FLs had clearly “won” the much anticipated air combat match between the MiG-21FL and the F-104A Starfighter.
A MiG-21FL flown by Wing Commander Soni shooting down a PAF Starfighter in 1971 war. | Photo: Society for Aerospace Studies
Updated MiG-21 variants continued their services as the backbone of the IAF’s fleet in the 1980s and the 1990s. The MiG-21BIS T-75 and the MiG-21 T-96 were utilised extensively during the 1999 Indo-Pak Kargil conflict for high altitude rocket and bomb attacks against Pakistan Army intruders. Escort to strike and CAP missions were also flown over the battlefield.
An IAF MiG-21BIS firing 2 x S24 air to ground rockets. | Photo: By special arrangement
On 10 August, 1999, an IAF No45 Squadron MiG-21BIS shot down a Pakistan Navy Atlantique MR aircraft over the Rann of Kutch, after the PN aircraft had intruded inside Indian territory.
The final moments of the PN Atlantique, before a R-60 missile shot it down. | Photo: bharatrakshak.com
In the IAF-PAF engagement in Jammu and Kashmir on 27 February 2019, an IAF MiG-21 Bison flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of No51 Squadron ‘Swordarms’, shot down a PAF jet in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which as per electronic signatures available with IAF was decreed to be a F-16 of the PAF. This account can be read here.
A PAF jet falls from the sky after being hit by a R-73 missile fired by a MiG-21 Bison. | Photo: By special arrangement
The last of the MiG-21 Bison Squadrons may well end up serving the IAF for a number of more years — a legacy few aircraft will be able to match across their lifetime.
Guns on modern combat aircraft — Yes or a No?
The short and sweet answer — guided missiles are yet to demonstrate a Probability of Kill (Pk) or effective operating/engagement envelopes for all combat scenarios which can be envisaged in modern air combat. A gun fills many gaps well. Gunfighting has certainly been viewed with disdain by some operational practitioners, who have been repeatedly trying to do away with them in fighters despite the not-so-savvy record of missiles in combat. Well, even though improvements are constantly made to guided missile designs, the gun appears to be on course towards being an integral component of air combat well into the future.
Also, the days of dogfighting are not over. Air Combat Manoeuvring is and always will be a fundamental need and desired aspect of air combat. The beginning and the end of the process. History is on the side of the dogfight. Ignore that at your own peril.
Acknowledgement: Society for Aerospace Studies (SAS). Discussion with Air Marshal B.D. Jayal (Retd). Inputs from the books Indo Pak Air War of 1965 by Jagan Pillariseti & Samir Chopra Battle for Pakistan by John Fricker and multiple online references.
Sameer Joshi is a retired Indian Air Force fighter pilot with experience on the MiG-21 and Mirage-2000 jets. Besides being a start-up entrepreneur, he has serious interests in aerospace & defence and military history.
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Huge titanosaur makes American Museum of Natural History debut
The American Museum of Natural History in New York has unveiled a new gigantic dinosaur exhibit, squeezing a 122-foot-long titanosaur cast into the famous building.
The dinosaur, which has not yet been formally named, was unveiled Thursday. Paleontologists think that that the giant herbivore weighed in at around 70 tons – as much as 10 African elephants. The titanosaur is too large even for the museum’s gallery, with part of its 39-foot neck extending out towards the building’s elevator banks.
The skeleton’s ‘bones’ are lightweight 3D prints made of fibreglass.
The huge cast was built over six months by Ontario, Canada-based Research Casting International and Argentina’s Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio. The titanosaur is based on 84 fossil bones that were excavated in the remote Argentine region of Patagonia in 2014. Scientists have discovered a total of 223 fossil bones from six individuals at the site, according to the American Museum of Natural History, including a colossal 8-foot femur.
The paleontologists were told about the site by a local rancher in 2012, and made several trips there over the next 18 months.
Fossils from the original discovery on temporary display with the titanosaur cast include the femur and forelimb.
“We are pleased to present this awe-inspiring exhibit as yet another icon in an inspiring journey of discovery that the Museum offers throughout its galleries,” said American Museum of Natural History President Ellen Futter, in a statement. “While the titanosaur itself is ancient, it nevertheless embodies and reflects the very modern, dynamic, and thrilling state of paleontology today.”
The F-35 just made its combat debut
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has seen combat for the first time.
The Israel Defense Forces announced on its Twitter account that the Israeli version of the aircraft, using its “Adir” moniker was used in operational missions.
“The Adir planes are already operational and flying in operational missions,” the tweet said, quoting Israel Air Force head Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin. “We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity.”
The Israeli Air Force used the F-35 in two recent strikes in the Middle East, Norkin said, according to the news outlet Haaretz.
The use of the F-35 in combat is a major milestone for the aircraft that has been in development since the early 1990s. The program has been marred not only by cost overruns and delays but persistent attacks by critics who have called into question the jet’s warfighting capabilities.
Syrian downing of F-16I begs question: Why didn’t Israel deploy F-35s?
Are these costly stealth fighters too precious to use? Or perhaps the Israeli Air Force is not sufficiently confident in the F-35 or its pilots’ proficiency in operating the fifth-gen fighter.
The combat debut could also bode well for future buys of the joint strike fighter. Israel has already put 50 F-35 Adir aircraft on contract. However, last year its parliament urged its defense ministry to conduct an analysis of alternatives before going forward with more orders, which could add another 25 to 50 jets to the IAF.
Israel’s decision to employ its Adir, or “Mighty One,” may stem from February’s downing of an IAF F-16 in Syria, which prompted some experts to question why the IAF was not using the stealthy jet against capable Syrian air defenses.
Sky High in a Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter looked more like a rocket than an airplane. Out in front was a sharply pointed nose with a long pitot tube. The airplane’s straight, stubby wings were canted downward, and they were so thin and small, like fins, that you wondered how it could fly. Lockheed press releases even described the airplane as “the missile with a man in it.” For pilots, its tiny cross-section made it the kind of aircraft you put on like a glove. The cockpit was small but comfortable, and the pilot sat reclined with legs extended, the way you sit in a sports car.
Early versions were designed with an ejection seat that fired downward, and to prevent injuries the pilot wore metal spurs attached to his flight boots, cowboy style. The spurs were connected to cables that would automatically pull his feet against the ejection seat during an ejection. Later, the seat was redesigned to fire upward, but the spurs stayed. Most pilots put their spurs on just before they boarded and took them off immediately after deplaning others wore them around to show off. When I was a second lieutenant attending flying school, I saw an Air Force colonel wearing an orange flying suit and a dress military hat with “scrambled eggs” on the visor. His spurs were clinking and clanking as he walked. Then and there I knew I wanted to fly the Starfighter.
I got my chance in December 1963, when I was selected to attend the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. At the time, the grand old man of supersonic flight, Colonel Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, was the commandant of the school, and he was guiding the Air Force toward the new frontier of spaceflight.
Our class had 10 Air Force pilots, two Navy pilots, two NASA pilots, and one pilot each from Canada and the Netherlands. We all wanted to be part of the Space Age even though our very presence here put us in competition with NASA. The Air Force had initiated its own manned space program with the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar, a single-seat space vehicle scheduled to make its first flight in 1966, just three years away.
All X-20 pilots would be graduates of Yeager’s school and actually fly their spacecraft from liftoff to an unpowered landing on Edwards’ Rogers Dry Lake. NASA astronauts, on the other hand, returned to Earth in a capsule suspended from a parachute and landed in the ocean.
Yeager was instrumental in changing the curriculum of the test pilot school to include spaceflight training. The name of the school was also changed to Aerospace Research Pilot School, though it was commonly referred to as Yeager’s Charm School. He still had the golden touch: Yeager seemed to have a credit card enabling him to tap into the Air Force budget, and there seemed to be no limit to what he could spend. His motto appeared to be “Follow me. I will put the Air Force in space.”
To give his students a real taste of space, Yeager contracted with Lockheed to modify three production F-104s for high-altitude flight. Designated NF-104s, they were inexpensive trainers that would expose students to altitudes above 100,000 feet. Like the X-15, the NF-104s had small directional thrusters in the nose and wingtips for attitude control up where normal controls had no effect.
Each NF-104 was equipped with a Rocketdyne liquid-fuel rocket engine that used JP-4 fuel and hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizer to produce 6,000 pounds of thrust. With the reaction control system, a student could control the NF-104 on a zero-G trajectory through the thin atmosphere at the edge of space for about 80 seconds. The pilot wore a pressure suit without engine power at that altitude there was no cockpit pressurization.
It was widely understood that whoever first pushed the NF-104 to its maximum performance was certain to set a world record for altitude achieved by an aircraft taking off under its own power. In 1961 the Soviets had set a record of 113,890 feet with the E-66A, a rocket-powered variant of the MiG-21 fighter. Some U.S. X-planes had flown higher, but they had to be carried aloft by a Boeing B-52 (see “Mother,” June/July 2001).
In 1963, Lockheed began shakedown flights on the NF-104 with company test pilot Jack Woodman. After a few months the program was turned over to Major Robert W. “Smitty” Smith at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), flying out of the Fighter Branch of Test Operations. A year later, when I was assigned to the fighter branch, I did a little off-the-record dogfighting against Smitty. By disabling the safety system that prevented loss of control at high angles of attack and high Gs, he could fly the F-104 near its aerodynamic limits. You couldn’t beat Smitty in an F-104.
To reach maximum altitude, the pilot accelerated the NF-104 at full power to maximum speed, then pulled up into a “zoom climb.” In a zoom, the more energy you could build up during acceleration—and the more precisely you could maintain the optimal climb angle—the higher the airplane would climb when it coasted to the top of the zoom. Smitty reached 120,800 feet on one zoom—not an official world record because it was a test flight and the official monitors were not in place. Optimum climb angle for the aircraft turned out to be between 65 and 70 degrees, which, added to a 14-degree seat cant and a five-degree angle of attack, left the pilot reclined at an angle of about 85 degrees. You couldn’t see the ground from that position, so all zoom maneuvers were made on instruments. On one flight, Smitty tried an angle of 85 degrees, but he lost control and tumbled, going over the top upside down. The aircraft entered a spin but he recovered. Smitty was fearless.
Yeager had taken the NF-104 up three times to get a feel for it, and on December 10, 1963, he was scheduled to fly two zoom flights in preparation for an all-out record attempt the next day. During the morning flight he reached 108,700 feet, but Yeager felt the Starfighter could be taken much higher.
On the afternoon flight, Yeager’s test profile called for him to accelerate to Mach 1.7 at 37,000 feet, light the rocket engine to accelerate to Mach 2.2 at 40,000 feet, and then climb at 70 degrees. As the aircraft passed through 70,000 feet, ground control informed Yeager that he had less than the desired angle of climb. He applied the reaction controls to get back on the flight path, a technique he had used before. But on this flight he was at a lower altitude (101,595 feet) and the reaction controls were not yet effective. There was a higher dynamic pressure on the control surfaces, meaning the horizontal tail would have been more effective. Then, when he attempted to lower the nose at the peak of his climb, he found that neither the aerodynamic controls nor the reaction controls could reduce the angle of attack enough to prevent a spin. Soon he was gyrating in all directions, and nothing would stop it. A mile above the desert and falling like a manhole cover, he ejected.
As his parachute opened, he was struck in the face by the base of his rocket seat. His helmet’s visor broke and burning residue from the rocket entered the helmet. Pure oxygen for breathing was flowing to the helmet, igniting a flame that started to fry his neck and face. As he descended, Yeager removed a glove and used his bare hand to try to put out the fire around his nose and mouth, charring two fingers and a thumb. The aircraft hit the ground in a flat attitude, and Yeager landed a short distance from the wreckage. Within a few minutes a helicopter and flight surgeon arrived. Yeager had second-degree burns on the left side of his face and neck and on his left hand, and a cut on one eyelid.
The loss of an NF-104 was not the only bad news that day: Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced the cancellation of the X-20. The Air Force lost a manned space program, Yeager was injured and wrapped in bandages, and the Air Force had put a hold on his spending.
What Couldn’t the F-4 Phantom Do?
First, they tried an F-104. “Not enough wing or thrust,” recalls Jack Petry, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. When NASA engineers were launching rockets at Florida’s Cape Canaveral in the 1960s, they needed pilots to fly close enough to film the missiles as they accelerated through Mach 1 at 35,000 feet. Petry was one of the chosen. And the preferred chase airplane was the McDonnell F-4 Phantom.
“Those two J79 engines made all the difference,” says Petry. After a Mach 1.2 dive synched to the launch countdown, he “walked the [rocket’s] contrail” up to the intercept, tweaking closing speed and updating mission control while camera pods mounted under each wing shot film at 900 frames per second. Matching velocity with a Titan rocket for 90 extreme seconds, the Phantom powered through the missile’s thundering wash, then broke away as the rocket surged toward space. Of pacing a Titan II in a two-seat fighter, Petry says: “Absolutely beautiful. To see that massive thing in flight and be right there in the air with it—you can imagine the exhilaration.”
For nearly four decades of service in the U.S. military, the Phantom performed every combat task thrown at it—almost every mission ever defined.
“All we had to work with at the beginning was a gleam in the customer’s eye,” said James S. McDonnell of the Phantom’s inception. In 1954, the ambitious founder of McDonnell Aircraft personally delivered to the Pentagon preliminary sketches based on the U.S. Navy’s request for a twin-engine air superiority fighter. The Navy green-lighted McDonnell’s concept, as well as a competing offer from Chance-Vought that updated the F8U Crusader.
Revetments at an air base in Da Nang sheltered F-4s from mortar and rockets. (National Museum of the USAF) The F-4’s folding wing eased movement aboard aircraft carriers. (US Navy via D. Sheley) Steve Ritchie (front seat) and Chuck DeBellevue shot down four MiGs as a team. (National Museum of the USAF) In 2005, four Phantoms painted in Vietnam-era markings fly a U.S. Air Force Heritage demonstration over Florida. (USAF) Doug Joyce trained at Davis-Monthan Force Base in Arizona before flying the F-4 on night missions in Vietnam. (Courtesy Doug Joyce ) An F-4 makes a practice landing on the USS Midway on June 15, 1963. ( Del Laughery/jetwash images) Phantom pilot John Chesire flew combat missions from Midway during the Vietnam War. (Courtesy John Chesire) The U.S. Air Force would become McDonnell Aircraft’s biggest F-4 customer. (USAF) An F-4M goes vertical over Germany on October 24, 1989. McDonnell Douglas manufactured 116 M variants for Britain’s Royal Air Force, which used the aircraft for low-altitude strike and reconnaissance. (Stefan Petersen) The Phantom was known for its smoky engines. (DOD) An F-4G (left) and an F-16 prepare to deploy to Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War. The F-4 was a Wild Weasel, tasked with destroying surface-to-air-missile sites in Iraq. (DOD) Weasel mission patch. (USAF via ebay)
In an area of McDonnell’s St. Louis, Missouri factory known as the advanced design cage—a cluster of three desks and a few drafting boards partitioned off with drywall topped with chicken wire—just four engineers worked on the airplane that would propel naval aviation into the future. As the engineers worked, the Navy clarified its concept of air superiority: The service wanted a two-seat, high-altitude interceptor to neutralize the threat Soviet bombers posed to America’s new fleet of Forrestal-class super-carriers. Now designated F4H-1, the project soon engulfed the entire resources of “McAir,” as the company was known. By 1962, F-4 program manager David Lewis would be company president.
McDonnell’s and the Navy’s design philosophy assumed the next war, not the last. The F-4’s rear cockpit was there for a backseater to handle what was sure to be a heavy information load. For the air-to-air encounters of tomorrow, gunnery was supplanted by radar-guided missiles. Though not strictly solid state, the airframe was stuffed with state of the art: Westinghouse radar, Raytheon missile fire control, advanced navigation systems, and an analog air-data computer. A network of onboard sensors extended nose to tail.
On the factory floor, integrating 30,000 electronic parts and 14 miles of wiring gave troubleshooters a fit—and job security. Cheek-by-jowl components generated clashing sources of electromagnetic energy. Voltage wandered wire to wire, producing crazy glitches: Gauges displayed 800 gallons when the fuel tanks were empty. Just how convoluted the glitches could get was demonstrated when baffling control losses were traced to a random match between the pitch of one test pilot’s voice in the headset mic and the particular resonance of a signal controlling autopilot activation.
After the F-4 eliminated the F8U-3 in a competitive fly-off, George Spangenberg, an official in the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics, declared: “The single-seat fighter era is dead.” Though its General Electric J79 engines advertised its arrival with a smoke trail visible 25 miles away—a Phantom calling card that would take two decades to engineer out—the first F-4 production models rolled off McDonnell’s assembly line with Mach 2 capability as standard equipment and a 1,000-hour warranty. Delivered to California’s Naval Air Station Miramar in December 1960 as a fleet defender purpose-built to intercept high-flying nuclear foes, the massively powered, technology-chocked F-4 seemed to herald the same break from 1950s orthodoxy as John F. Kennedy’s torch-has-been-passed inauguration speech, then only weeks away.
Navy aviators of the early 1950s made do with jet aircraft hamstrung by the requirements for carrier landings. “I wouldn’t say I really aspired to fly the [McDonnell] F3H Demon,” says Guy Freeborn, a retired Navy commander, of the clunky subsonic he once had to eject from. “But then, one day, here was this beautiful new F-4 sitting right next to it.” Suddenly, carrier-based fliers like Freeborn—who would spend two Vietnam combat tours in the front seat of a Phantom—found themselves sole proprietors of the hottest fighter on Earth.
The new jet took some getting used to. Getting F-4s to fly and fight required a team effort: a pilot up front and a radar intercept officer (RIO) behind. The ethos of the solitary hunter-killer, not to mention the ability to single-handedly grease precarious landings on pitching carrier decks, fostered a strong DIY culture among Navy fighter pilots. How to process the notion of a RIO (aka “guy in back,” aka “voice in the luggage compartment”), who wasn’t even a pilot, looking over your shoulder?
Aerial combat in Vietnam had a clarifying effect on pilots’ attitudes toward RIOs. “I loved it,” says John Chesire, who flew 197 combat missions in the Phantom during two tours in Vietnam. “We split our duties, and he kept me out of trouble. Going into combat, the workload was so high that I really relied on the guy behind me.”
Flying into combat without a shooting iron was another matter. “That was the biggest mistake on the F-4,” says Chesire. “Bullets are cheap and tend to go where you aim them. I needed a gun, and I really wished I had one.”
“Everyone in RF-4s wished they had a gun on the aircraft,” says Jack Dailey, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general and director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
McDonnell’s earliest concept included interchangeable nose sections to readily convert a standard F-4 into the RF-4B, a camera-equipped reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft’s most photo-friendly asset, however, was speed. RF-4Bs flew alone and unarmed deep into unfriendly airspace. “Speed is life,” Phantom pilots liked to say.
In the front seat of a Marine Corps photo-recon Phantom on more than 250 missions, Dailey was tasked to support Marines on the ground with film and infrared imagery. “We were trying to track movement of the Viet Cong coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail,” he says. “They moved their trucks a lot at night. We could fly along a road and pop flash cartridges and catch them out in the open.”
The recce pilots in RF-4s had good reason to wish for a gun: The focal length of the RF-4’s camera lens and the required photo coverage imposed a flight regime that didn’t include evasive action. “For photographic purposes, they wanted you flying straight and level at about 5,000 feet,” says Dailey. The predictable flight path and the absence of defensive weapons drew enemy calibers from anti-aircraft artillery down to small arms. “We got hosed down every day,” says Dailey. Often, ground forces simply used barrage fire—large groups firing rifles and other sidearms into the sky simultaneously. Dailey’s Phantom was nailed on nine occasions. A rifle round once penetrated the cockpit, narrowly missing him. Another time he landed with so much engine damage “you could see light shining through.”
Naval aviators were rudely initiated into an F-4 idiosyncrasy: As airplane and deck parted company, the Phantom’s nose initially rose slowly. And with a bit of speed, the nose could over-rotate to a near-stall attitude if not controlled. “It got pretty wild,” says Chesire. “It was always lots of fun to watch new guys take off.”
About Stephen Joiner
Stephen Joiner writes about aviation from his home in southern California.
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New Eastern Outlook
P 13.11.2020 U F. William Engdahl
Bill Gates is actively financing and promoting new untested vaccines supposed to keep us at least somewhat safe from a ghastly death from the novel coronavirus and supposedly allow us to resume somewhat “normal” lives. The Pharma giant Pfizer has now announced what they claim were spectacular results in initial human tests. They use an experimental technology known as gene editing, specifically mRNA gene-editing, something never before used in vaccines. Before we rush to get jabbed in hopes of some immunity, we should know more about the radical experimental technology and its lack of precision.
The financial world went ballistic on November 9 when the pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced in a company press release that it had developed a vaccine for Covid19 that was “90%” effective. The controversial US head of NIAID, Tony Fauci, rushed to greet the news and the EU announced it had purchased 300 million doses of the costly new vaccine. If you believe financial markets, the pandemic is all but past history.
However it seems Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, doesn’t share the confidence of his own claims. On the day his company issued its press release on the proposed vaccine trials, he sold 62% of his stock in Pfizer, making millions profit in the deal. He made the sell order in a special option in August so it would not appear as “insider selling”, however he also timed it just after the US elections and the mainstream media illegitimately declared Joe Biden President-elect. It seems from appearances that Bourla had a pretty clear conflict of interest in the timing of his press release on the same day.
Bourla lied and denied to press that his company had received any funds from the Trump Administration to develop the vaccine when it came out they contracted in summer to deliver 100 million doses to the US Government. Further adding to the suspect actions of Pfized was the fact the company first informed the team of Joe biden rather than the relevant US government agencies.
But this is far from the only thing alarming about the much-hyped Pfizer announcement.
The German Partner
Pfizer, famous for its Viagra and other drugs, has partnered with a small Mainz, Germany company, BioNTech, which has developed the radical mRNA technique used to produce the new corona vaccine. BioNTech was only founded in 2008. BioNTech signed an agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in September, 2019, just before announcement in Wuhan China of the Novel Coronavirus and just before BioNTech made its stock market debut. The agreement involved cooperation on developing new mRNA techniques to treat cancer and HIV. Curiously that press release, “The Gates Foundation sees BioNTech potential to ‘dramatically reduce global HIV and tuberculosis’” 05. September 2019, has now been deleted.
BioNTech also has an agreement with one of the largest drug producers in China, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (“Fosun Pharma”) to develop a version of its mRNA vaccine for novel coronavirus for the Chinese market. Ai-Min Hui, President of Global R&D of Fosun Pharma said in an August statement, “Dosing the first Chinese subject with BNT162b1 marks a milestone of the global co-development program in China. We are closely working with BioNTech and regulatory authorities to evaluate the safety and efficacy of BNT162b1 and other mRNA vaccine candidates…”
This means that the same German biotech company is behind the covid vaccines being rushed out in China as well as the USA and EU. The vaccine is being rushed through to eventual approval in an alarmingly short time.
Both US and EU authorities and presumably also Chinese, waived the standard animal tests using ferrets or mice and have gone straight to human “guinea pigs.” Human tests began in late July and early August. Three months is unheard of for testing a new vaccine. Several years is the norm. Because of the degree of global panic engendered by WHO over the coronavirus, caution is thrown to the wind. Vaccine makers all have legal indemnity, meaning they can’t be sued if people die or are maimed from the new vaccine. But the most alarming fact about the new Pfizer-BioNTech gene edited vaccine is that the gene edited mRNA for human vaccine application has never before been approved. Notably, two year peer reviewed tests with mice fed genetically modified corn sprayed with Monsanto glyphosate-rich Roundup first showed cancer tumors after nine months as well as liver and other organ damage. Earlier Monsanto company tests ended at three months and claimed no harm. A similar situation exists with the gene edited mRNA vaccines that are being rushed out after less than 90 days human tests.
“ Explicitly experimental”
Dr. Michael Yeadon replied in a recent public social media comment to a colleague in the UK, “All vaccines against the SARS-COV-2 virus are by definition novel. No candidate vaccine has been… in development for more than a few months.” Yeadon then went on to declare, “If any such vaccine is approved for use under any circumstances that are not EXPLICITLY experimental, I believe that recipients are being misled to a criminal extent. This is because there are precisely zero human volunteers for…whom there could possibly be more than a few months past-dose safety information.”
Yeadon is well qualified to make the critique. As he notes in the comment, “I have a degree in Biochemistry & Toxicology & a research based PhD in pharmacology. I have spent 32 years working in pharmaceutical R&D, mostly in new medicines for disorders of lung & skin. I was a VP at Pfizer & CEO…. of a biotech I founded (Ziarco – acquired by Novartis). I’m knowledgeable about new medicine R&D.” He was formerly with Pfizer at a very senior level.
Human guinea pigs?
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is experimental and far from guaranteed safe, despite the fact that Pfizer, the EU and the notorious Dr Tony Fauci seem ready to roll it out even before year end to hundreds of millions of humans.
The experimental technology is based on a rather new gene manipulation known as gene editing. In a major article in the 2018 New York Council on Foreign Relations magazine, Foreign Affairs , Bill Gates effusively promoted the novel gene editing CRISPR technology as being able to “transform global development.” He noted that his Gates Foundation had been financing gene editing developments for vaccines and other applications for a decade.
But is the technology for breaking and splicing of human genes so absolutely safe that it is worth risking on a novel experimental vaccine never before used on humans? Contrary to what Bill Gates claims, the scientific answer is no, it is not proven so safe.
In a peer reviewed article in the October, 2020 journal Trends in Genetics , the authors conclude that “the range of possible molecular events resulting from genome editing has been underestimated and the technology remains unpredictable on, and away from, the target locus.”
Dr. Romeo Quijano, retired professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, noted some of the dangers of the experimental gene editing when applied to human vaccines. Quijano warns of, “the danger that the vaccine might actually “enhance” the pathogenicity of the virus, or make it more aggressive possibly due to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), as what happened with previous studies on test vaccines in animals. If that should happen in a major human trial the outcome could be disastrous. This serious adverse effect may not even be detected by a clinical trial especially in highly biased clinical trials laden with conflicts of interest involving vaccine companies. Even when a serious adverse event is detected, this is usually swept under the rug.” He cites the case of another Gates mRNA vaccine candidate, Moderna, where “three of the 15 human experimental subjects in the high dose group suffered serious and medically significant symptoms. Moderna, however, concluded that the vaccine was “generally safe and well tolerated,” which the corporate-dominated media dutifully reported, covering-up the real danger…”
He notes, “Exogenous mRNA is inherently immune-stimulatory, and this feature of mRNA could be beneficial or detrimental. It may provide adjuvant activity and it may inhibit antigen expression and negatively affect the immune response. The paradoxical effects of innate immune sensing on different formats of mRNA vaccines are incompletely understood.” Quijano adds, “A mRNA-based vaccine could also induce potent type I interferon responses, which have been associated not only with inflammation but also potentially with autoimmunity… and may promote blood coagulation and pathological thrombus formation.”
Quijano writes in the extensively documented article, “among other dangers, the virus-vectored vaccines could undergo recombination with naturally occurring viruses and produce hybrid viruses that could have undesirable properties affecting transmission or virulence. The…possible outcomes of recombination are practically impossible to quantify accurately given existing tools and knowledge. The risks, however, are real, as exemplified by the emergence of mutant types of viruses, enhanced pathogenicity and unexpected serious adverse events (including death) following haphazard mass vaccination campaigns and previous failed attempts to develop chimeric vaccines using genetic engineering technology.”
Bill Gates, the mRNA vaccine makers including Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, and their close allies such as Dr. Tony Fauci of the NIAID are clearly playing fast and loose with human lives in their rush to get these experimental vaccines into our bodies. Notably, the same Dr. Fauci and his NIAID owns the patent on a vaccine for dengue fever known as Dengvaxia, marketed by Sanofi-Pasteur and promoted as an “essential” vaccine by Tedros’ WHO since 2016. Robert F. Kennedy jr. noted that Fauci and NIAID “knew from the clinical trials that there was a problem with paradoxical immune response,” but they gave it to several hundred thousand Filipino kids anyway. It was estimated that as many as 600 vaccinated children died before the government stopped the vaccinations.
Clearly the well-established Precautionary Principle–if in serious doubt, don’t– is being ignored by Fauci, Pfizer/BioNTech and others in rushing to approve the new mRNA vaccine for coronavirus. Messenger RNA technology has yet to produce an approved medicine, let alone a vaccine.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
How Nikola Tesla’s St. Louis lecture helped prove that he invented radio
The 1893 lecture was also the beginning of Tesla’s friendship with Mark Twain.
Illustration by Britt Spencer
Say “Tesla” and most people think “electric car.” Less commonly, they think of that vehicle’s eponym, Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the alternating current (and inspiration for the 2020 biopic that bears his surname and stars Ethan Hawke). Tesla has also been called the inventor of radio, though some will disagree and attribute that invention to Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi.
Tesla’s early experiments with radio began in the 1890s. They involved using what he dubbed a Tesla coil (something like those glass spheres you see at science museums that surge with purple bolts of plasma). In 1893, Tesla gave a private lecture describing his radio experiments in Philadelphia. Then, a few days later, he gave a public demonstration at the National Electric Light Association Convention in St. Louis.
The frenzy around Tesla began before he even hit the lectern. His talk had originally been booked in a modest lecture hall, but then tickets sold. and sold. and sold. Before the doors opened, there were scalpers on the steps. By the timeTesla strode out onto the stage, the hall was “crowded to suffocation,” according to The Electrical Engineer. Though most were too far away to see much of the stage, everyone was nevertheless thrilled to be there. Tesla did not disappoint—he went full Vegas, a decade before Vegas even existed. He used his body to conduct electrical currents and shot electric sparks and violet streams of electricity out of his fingers. He lit up lamps just by touching them. And he “made fine cotton-covered wires stretched on a frame over the table luminous, so that in the dark they looked like attenuated violet caterpillars yards long.” In the theater lobby, he was met with another predictable crush of people, all wanting to shake the hand of the man whose fingernails, it was said, glowed in the dark.
Between moments of wowing the crowd with balls of purple electricity and magic lamps, Tesla demonstrated that it was possible to send signals through space using a receiver. Thus he explained the technology that we now know as radio.
In 1900, Marconi filed a U.S. patent for radio technology—and was turned down, because it too closely resembled Tesla’swork. Then in 1904, the court abruptly reversed its decision, which is often chalked up to political maneuverings behind the scenes. Marconi even won the Nobel Prize for inventing radio in 1911. Tesla was emotionally destroyed by the whole affair. He was vindicated in 1945, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the radio patent should belong to Tesla—and the justices used his St. Louis lecture as evidence to invalidate Marconi’s claims to it.
Twain and Tesla
Tesla’s other connection to Missouri was his friendship with Mark Twain the two became good friends right around the time of Tesla’s St. Louis lecture. When Twain visited Tesla’s lab in 1894, he was photographed holding a vacuum lamp lit by Tesla coil and, on that visit, proclaimed alternating currents would “revolutionize the whole electric business of the world.” Twain modeled the character of Hank Morgan from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court on Tesla, and Tesla credited Twain’s writings to helping him recover from a terrible illness 25 years before the two met. When Tesla told Twain that he'd found his books “so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state,” Twain cried—which may be as impressive as the invention of radio.