Life-extension of aircrafts is a horse-load of shit. And life-extension by 15-20 years is simply unbelievable unless you put the life of pilots to a grave danger. At best say extension by 5 years can be understood to borrow time for induction of new aircrafts in any exigency. An aircraft is not a car that if it stalls it will come to a lumbering halt on the road.
In America, they greatly value human life. All lives are precious, but unless you take umbrage, more so in case of fighter pilots since you have spent millions of dollars on them. And then there is a helluva lot of difference between their life-extensions and our life-extensions. Boeing that produces F/A-18 knows its jets inside out from the nut bolts to the innards of its engine. And if their life-extension falters, they also better know that heads will roll.
Life-extension of Indian aircrafts is carried out by Russians or for that matter say any other foreign engineers or with their assistance. Money is the prime motive that by general experience can be taken to mean compromise with procedural compliance. And no sky will fall if an Indian aircraft falls out of the sky.
I would also like to cite an analogy here. 10 years back on a sultry drowsy night, high on a couple of Patialas, I rammed my car in a stationary lorry. Stationary or slow moving I cannot recall, but it certainly must not have been fast because I’m writing this piece in front of you today. My pocket lightened by Rs. 52000, the guy was actually asking for some Rs. 76000.
Though I took my vows not to drive when high, but the experience I wanna share is not of my attempts at sobriety but rather what happened of the car after so called life-extension. The moment I drove it after a month, my face grew white. Its frame had lost its centre of gravity. It wheezed as I accelerated and the joints creaked. The whole pleasure of drive was killed unless I sold it 4 years later.
Life-extension hadn’t worked. And in any case if it sputtered in the course of later 4 chequered years of its life, it was standing deadass on all fours on the road. I am alive today because my car simply did not know how to fall out of the sky.
Life-extension is an alternative – say for Iran or North Korea-when you have just no other alternative. The solution lies in continuously producing your indigenous aircrafts, upgrade the designs after a couple of decades, and retire the old ones. And we do better understand that India cannot keep on importing aircrafts worth billions of dollars incessantly.