Wednesday 22 February 2017
Saturday 18 February 2017
A DISASTER IN THE MAKING
Some time back (10 February 2017), Lockheed stated that it intended to manufacture the F-16 Block-70/72 aircraft with a local partner in India (Tata), under PM Modi's Make-in-India programme, if the Indian Air Force agreed to purchase the aircraft. Going by the rate at which India manufactures aircraft, the statement of first rollout by 2019 is a chimera. The first aircraft will fly in perhaps 2023 and the prototype will attain FOC in 2025 or so. Thereafter India may sell the 1972-design aircraft to interested buyers. As of today, the only country interested in buying this 1972 model aircraft is Pakistan! Even the USA has terminated its F-16 programme.
The Indian Air Chief is on record as of 04 Oct. 2017 that the IAF is putting up a proposal for single-engined jet fighters as twin-jets are too expensive. The number will depend on how many fronts we will be fighting on, currently assumed as two. At least 112 will be required as the MiG-27 and Jaguars are phased out.
- The F-16 has the highest accident rate among its generation in the world. It appears low because of sheer numbers of aircraft produced- something like the Rape rate in India which is actually the lowest in the world in %. On the other hand, only one Rafale has been lost so far!
- It has the highest airframe fracture rate in the world, exceeded only by the Comet, Buccaneer, Lightning, MiG-21 and Concorde, all museum-pieces. In its last five years, the Buccaneer had a laughable 2G limit.The F-16's structural weight has now increased by 3 tonnes, for the same airframe.
- The F-16’s undercarriage strut replacement rate is the highest in its class.
- Its out-of-base serviceability record is the poorest known in its class, with a 50% MTBF in India.
- Its on-base LRU replacement rate is in excess of 1.0/per sortie. Unlike India, there is no shortage of LRUs in USA.
- It is the only FBW aircraft that has minimum speed limitations. I quote: " Flight testing has revealed that assaulting multiple limiters at high AOA and low speed can result in an AOA far exceeding the 25° limit, referred to as 'departure'; this causes a deep stall, a near-freefall at 50° to 60° AOA, either upright or inverted. While at a very high AOA, the aircraft's attitude is stable but control surfaces are ineffective; the pitch limiter locks the stabilators at an extreme pitch-up or pitch-down attempting to recover, this can be overridden so the pilot can 'rock' the nose via pitch control to recover." There is no speed problem with the M-2000, the Rafale, the Typhoon & the Gripen.
- It is the only current gen aircraft that is banned from low-level night flying, even with the LANTIRN.
- Its HUD/Avionics suite does not offer an auto-landing system like the M-2000.
- Its HUD does not display engine power management.
- Its canopy has to be jettisoned before ejecting.
- Its combat presence is 40% that of the Rafale.
- It has come a distant second-best to the Typhoon in one-on-one tests.
- Its frontal RCS is the highest in small-sized agile fighters. (The SU-30 is huge, twice the F-16’s size).
- Its heat/IR signature is the highest in its class, due to its GE F110-GE-132 engine. This engine is a monster, delivering over 15 tonnes of thrust, forcing the ac to carry a 1000-L V/T at all times. Even so, combat endurance is low. Interestingly, all take offs are in dry power, load permitting, since its reheat burns off the runway surface.
- It has a speed limit of 700 knots at LL, due intake design, stabiliser design and a difficult M 2.0 at altitude.
- It has the largest frontal Doppler blind zone and beam quarters Doppler notch, to be addressed by its new AESA radar.
- Empty weight: 18,900 lb (8,570 kg)
- Loaded weight: 26,500 lb (12,000 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 42,300 lb (19,200 kg)
- Internal fuel: 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg)
There is no change in the F-16’s internal fuel carrying capacity of 3,200 Kg/4,000L. Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) are over-the-wing laterally mounted tanks that blend with the aerodynamic spinal configuration of the aircraft. Since nothing can be suspended from them as load, they are rather light. A set of two CFTs that provide a total of 1360 Kg (1,700L) of additional fuel for the F-16 weighs 420 Kg. The extra fuel can significantly extend mission range, time on station or time engaged in combat. This range/combat presence enhancement is very valuable for countries that do not have tankers for aerial refuelling. There are certain penalties, however. Drag and RCS both increase. While 9G turns can still be executed given its monstrous engine, minimum radius turns are affected (~6G, 350-75 kts). Thus the ac will have to operate in a predictable oblique mode. No dogfight will see two ac pulling 9G each, except in transient maneuvres. Low speed high alpha maneuvres were banned earlier.
The overall weight of the aircraft increases by 1,800 Kg; to stay within max T/O limit, ordnance/fuel tank weight has to be reduced by 1,800 Kg. CFTs increase the F-16's payload flexibility. For medium range air- to-surface missions, CFTs obviate wing tanks. This allows an increase in the F-16's primary weapon capacity and flying with two, rather than one, types of large weapons in a balanced configuration. An AAR tanker may change mission dynamics radically.
- Guns: 1 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel Rotary cannon, 511 rounds
- Hardpoints: 2 × wing-tip Air-to-air missile launch rails, 6 × under-wing, and 3 × under-fuselage pylon (2 of 3 for sensors) stations with a capacity of Up to 17,000 lb (7,700 kg) of stores.
- In case the F-16 deal fails-which is most unlikely- SAAB is ready in the wings with its Gripen to fully meet all requirements demanded by India.
Lockheed Martin says if F-21 wins the contract, then India will be integrated into the company's global fighter ecosystem, which is a USD 165 billion dollar market. They will not sell this platform and the configuration to anyone else in the world, a significant commitment by Lockheed Martin showing the importance of India and importance of unique requirement India has. It will not only set up a state-of-the-art F-21 manufacturing facility along with the Tata Group but will also help India create an ecosystem for overall growth of the country's defence manufacturing.
F-21 is similar to Lockheed's F-16 Block 70 combat jet, but there are significant differences between the two platforms. F-21 is different in terms of various aspects including its airframe, weapons capability, engine matrix and availability of engine options. The new engine and airframe have 12,000 hours of service life. The jet has a Long-Range Infrared Search and Track (IRST), enabling pilots to detect threats with precision and Triple Missile Launcher Adapters (TMLAs) allowing it to carry 40 per cent more air-to-air weapons.
The aircraft has an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, the AN/APX-126 Advanced IFF, the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II, CFT (Conformal Fuel Tanks) located overwing; a high-volume, high-speed data bus as well as other features like a Link-16 Theatre Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).
The Northrop Grumman’s advanced APG-83 AESA radar enables greater detection and tracking ranges, multiple target track (20-plus target tracks), high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) maps for all-environment precision strike, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface mode operations for improved situational awareness, operational effectiveness and survivability and robust electronic protection for operations in dense radio frequency (RF) environments.
The additional 40 per cent weapons carrying capability is new in F-21, an upgrade over the F-16 Block 70. The electronic warfare system is uniquely developed for India. This fighter’s cockpit has a new large area display. It is a modern cockpit and has a significant piece of ability to synthesise information. These are unique capabilities that are not offered to other countries in the world.
The F-21’s innovative technologies are derived from Lockheed Martin’s F-22 and F-35 – the world’s only two operational 5th Generation fighters. The F-21 is equipped with an Advanced APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which has detection ranges nearly double that of previous mechanically scanned array radars and the ability to track and attack more targets with higher precision. It has an Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) System, developed uniquely for India that provides enhanced survivability against ground and air threats; Long-Range Infrared Search and Track (IRST), enabling pilots to detect threats without being detected.
Thursday 9 February 2017
THE BLACK DOG SCOTCH WHISKY
Of International Appeal But Of Indian Concept
Phipson also served as the editor of the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society for twenty years – as the sole editor for fifteen years till 1901 and then a joint editor with Millard, who succeeded him as Honorary Secretary in 1906, when Phipson returned home due to his wife's continued sickness. W.S. Millard left India in 1920 for home. He might have been recognised but was certainly not knighted for his services to the Natural History Society and to the British Armed Forces as a provender of high-quality perishables.
That year (1883), Phipson went to England to acquire all necessary ingredients for his business and set up contracts, particularly with stockists of Red, White and Rose Wines, Port, Sherry, Gin, Brandy and Whisky. Whisky could only be procured from Scotland. He employed Walter S. Millard (1864–1952), a 19-year-old educated bachelor to do the concomitant legwork. Both Millard and Phipson were pure Britishers, with nary a Scottish connection. This implied that Millard had to travel to Scotland, at best a tiring journey with poor transportation. He was to travel to Speyside and visit as many of the two dozen odd Glenlivet distilleries there, besides others. Phipson was leaving England when the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) was founded on 15 September 1883. He joined the BNHS in January '84.
In 1875, Charles registered the brand Mackinlays Vatted Old Benvorlich Scotch whisky and opened offices in London on Queen Victoria Street and at Crutched Friars. Thus, Mackinlays Vatted Old Benvorlich, one of the earliest blended Scotch whiskies to be marketed, was introduced to London. He then purchased Corbett Borthwicks Warehouse, East Old Dock, Leith, in 1875 to use as his blending HQs.
Phipson's actual reaction to this fait accompli is not recorded. There is a highly improbable anecdote as to the origin of this brand's final label. Being a keen 'Angler' and considering his love for his favourite sport, Millard named the Scotch after his favourite fishing fly - The Black Dog - allowed, in all probability as a quid pro quo by Phipson, a tale more dubious than didactic. This unsubstantiated tidbit notwithstanding, there is a simpler and less fairy-tale-like school of thought. It is quite probable that James Mackinlay, already a big name in Scotch Whisky blending, was titling his collection of brands after an array of fishing flies and that Millard selected a regal-sounding existing brand, The Black Dog. Again, this is unsubstantiated as all MacKinlay's blends are examined in detail in a separate post. All said and done, Millard had just signed a contract for it and was, temporarily, the Boss. The bare truth is that Millard was a young educated nobody other than a representative or empowered employee of Phipson in 1883.
This Scotch, Millard's Black Dog, was only eight years old, a 'Rare Scotch', and in all probability, was a Blended Scotch Whisky (a blend of malt and grain whiskies). As desired by Phipson, Millard wanted MacKinlay to try the various whiskies- both grain and malt- he had described in his notes. He had brought about, by default, the most important quality required of a blender of Scotch Whisky, viz., to give the spirit time to blend/marry and mature in wooden casks! MacKinlay was to set up the Glen Mhor Distillery at Inverness in the Highlands in 1892, with an extension in Leith, 160 miles away near Edinburgh to facilitate blending.
Millard's 12-year-old but new Black Dog had to be renamed, since the original, which was to be quickly and unobtrusively withdrawn, was already a global brand. This saw the emergence of the (blended at Mackinlay) Phipson Black Dog, an exquisite 12 YO Blended Scotch whisky, in a totally different shaped dark brown bottle, which became a bestseller overnight in Scotland, sufficient cause for jacking up the price, first internationally, then locally.
There is yet another school of thought, which, on reflection and ratiocination, seems most likely. Phipson was in Scotland in early 1883, in pursuit of essentials to set up his wine shop. He contacted James MacKinlay, aka 'The Royalty of Blenders' and commissioned him to produce a rare/fine Scotch Whisky to suit Asia and other tropical British colonies. He employed Walter, a well-educated young lad of 19 to follow up on his order, scour Speyside for good whiskies and assist James in conjuring up a magical potion, before getting back to India. Millard did as ordered, while also courting Jame's daughter, who he married in 1889, the year James put together the majestic deluxe 12 YO blend. Millard and James were successful in creating a Rare 8 YO Blended Scotch which Millard, short of time and ideas, named it Black Dog as Phipson's representative and on James' advice. As stated earlier, Phipson Black Dog was to follow and make history. This theory also supports the fact that Millard first set foot in India in 1884.
|One of the recovered bottles|
|The packing case|
His ne'er do well son then bought Glen Ord distillery in 1896 and sold his whisky as Glen Oran, which failed in the market. James intervened and sold off both Glen Ord and Glen Albyn in 1899 to recoup losses.
Phipson Black Dog
|The leading Scotch whisky of its time.|
Note the outline of the logo of the erstwhile fly.
Source: Noel Moitra
this 12 YO premium whisky had beaten Johnnie Walker's whiskies by a margin of
20 years; Johnnie Walker's 10 YO Red Label hit the market in that new avatar
only in 1909, when a decision was made to simplify the names of its rather
pompous but anachronous brands. It was well appreciated, but found inferior to
Black Dog, even after it undercut the latter's price. The competition came from
Buchanan's 12 YO, Greenlees Brothers' Old Parr (1909), Dewar’s 12 YO & Haig
and Haig's Dimple 12 YO. Johnnie Walker's Very Special Old Highland, the
much-touted Black Label entered the fray only in 1931.
The Chivas Regal 12 YO came in decades later, in 1964. Black Dog was the unchallenged premium whisky served on board Air India's international flights, and one of the leading brands of Scotch whisky on board passenger ships and Indian Navy warships. Surprisingly, Phipson's Black Dog was not available anywhere west of the Middle East, suggesting the transfer of each and every single one of these bottles to India and her neighbours and that Phipson held sway only in and around the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Malaya, the Philippines and Australasia.
Today, Phipson's Black Dog has become a collector's item which my coursemates and I possibly drank in our halcyon days-I, for one, certainly did on my Commissioning Day party. I kept my eyes and ears open for any future mention of this brand and found some stocked by the 12-bottle cases in our Navy's Duty-Free stores. Obliging naval coursemates provided me with a bottle or two.
Millard returned to England in 1920. When the British started to leave India in 1942, Phipson and Co. battled hard to stay on, well beyond 1947 when India gained Independence. Walter Millard died in England in 1952. He was not knighted either before or after leaving India in 1920. Carew and Co., a smaller liquor dealer, and Phipson & Co. were partly taken over in 1963-64 and merged with itself by McDowell & Co, owned by United Breweries Group (UB), an Indian alcoholic beverages company. in 2002, the company acquired Phipson Distillery marking the demise of Phipson Black Dog. In 2006, McDowell & Co Ltd, Herbertsons Limited, Triumph Distillers and Vintners Private Limited, Baramati Grape Industries India Limited, Shaw Wallace Distilleries Limited and four other companies were merged to form United Spirits Limited, the world's second-largest spirits company by volume. It is now a subsidiary of Diageo and headquartered in Bangalore. USL exports its products to over 37 countries.
USL also owned Whyte and Mackay and as Phipson Black Dog died with the taking over of the company, it turned to Richard Paterson, Master Blender at W&M to recreate The Black Dog. This acquisition of Scottish major Whyte & Mackay, with one of the largest inventories of aged malts and grain whisky reserves, saw USL bolstering Black Dog with better-aged variants to prop up premium appeal. USL started premiumising Black Dog. Rather than just placing the product on retail shelves, the company took an account management approach and created a huge buzz around the brand.
Four versions of the five current generation Black Dog Scotch Whisky exist today, with one premium version sold out.
Black Dog Black Reserve is a rich and rare premium blended Scotch whisky loaded with exceptional characters. It is blended to perfection with a multitude of malt spirits chosen from the various regions of Scotland.
- See more at: http://www.unitedspirits.in/scotch-brands.aspx?id=45&val=fifth#sthash.UktvoMsa.dpuf
Black Dog Black Reserve is a rich and rare blended Scotch whisky loaded with exceptional character. It is blended well with a multitude of malt and grain spirits chosen from various regions of Scotland. On completing 8 years in barrels, it is exported to India for bottling and sale. A few barrels are bottled for the local market as well. The whisky had a distinctive briny note, picked up in transit from Scotland to India, till 2008 when the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) banned the export of Scotch whisky in wooden casks.
Black Dog Gold Reserve Scotch Whisky
Black Dog Gold Reserve Aged 12 Years is a blend of 25 fine malt and grain whiskies from four regions of Scotland - Speyside, Islay, Highlands and Lowlands, each matured for a minimum period of 12 years creating a bouquet that captures all the flavours of Scotland, giving the blend its very distinctive flavour and taste. Over 95% of its output is bottled in India, the balance going into travel packs in Duty-Free shops and other markets. There is a distinct difference between the two, possibly caused by the effect of maritime air on the barrels as they travel to hot and dusty India, where the angel is far more demanding-up to a 12% cut. Sadly, this version is but a pale shadow of the Black Dog 12 YO of yesteryear. Whyte & Mackay use a different source of water, have different stills and can NEVER replicate Mackinlay's whiskies. That said, Johnny Walker Black Label started to use peated Caol Ila 12 YO and Talisker, along with Cardhu, Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Dailuaine, Linkwood, Clynelish, Oban and Cragganmore among others, changing the flavour profile markedly and elevating this brand to No.1 in the Blended Scotch 12 YO range, from which it was displaced in India by the Famous Grouse 12 YO, which sadly has been discontinued. Dewar's Scratched Cask 12 year Old, Teacher's 50, Ballantine's 12 YO, Dewar's 12 YO and Buchanan's 12 YO are currently vying for top honours in this category. Incidentally, The Famous Grouse also makes a 12 YO Blended Malt Whisky.
|The Famous Grouse 12 YO Blended Scotch|
|The Blended Malt|
Black Dog Reserve Scotch Whisky
The Black Dog Quintessence is a 21-year-old blend. It is pure liquid gold as it is handcrafted to meticulous perfection by Black Dog’s master blenders. Only 25 of the finest single malts and grain whiskies have been drawn from the Highland region of Scotland, in particular from Speyside to provide that special key – “finesse”. Like a loving partnership, each individual part has made its own inimitable contribution. Balance and harmony prevail throughout this noble elegant spirit. After a long 20-year maturation in Bourbon barrels, the final year is spent in the finest Oloroso sherry butts. These aren't just any sherry butts; they are specially selected from Spain’s noblest Bodegas of Gonzalez Byass in Jerez de la Frontera; these Matusalem butts provide the perfect platform to marry and mould Black Dog 21 years old Blended Scotch Whisky. This whisky has been sold out, more's the pity. I did manage to taste it at The Patio in 2013 and can still recall that dram.
The Black Dog Gold Reserve 12 YO is available at most duty-free shops at close to US$ 37.00 per 750 CL. These are all Bottled In Scotland whiskies but are rapidly fading out. They are far too expensive. In the free market in India, The Black Dog Gold Reserve 12 YO Bottled In India is freely available at US$ 16-18 and below. The rush for this brand at this price by people who don't care where it was bottled is unbelievable. The 12 YO is the brand that is selling the fastest globally when seen YoY, averaging 45-50%!
Black Dog's scorching growth contrasts with overall blended scotch sales coming under pressure globally, and within India, for different reasons. The only other blended scotch brands to report five-year double-digit growth are Black & White (19.8%), Old Parr (14.8%), Passport (13.7%) and VAT 69 (10%) among a list of the world's 50 top scotch brands compiled by International Wine & Spirit Research.