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Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria Will Take Over As The New Chief Of Indian Air Force

Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria will take over as the new Chief of Indian Air Force on September 30. Notably, he has flown 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft and was a chief test pilot for India's home grown LCA Tejas. Imminently, he is tasked to ratchet up the depleting squadron of IAF.

Photo Credit : IAF


Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria will take over as the new Chief of Indian Air Force. He is succeeding Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who is set to retire on September 30. 

Air Marshal Bhadauria has over 4,250 hours of experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft with the unique distinction of being an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat ‘A’ qualified flying instructor and a pilot attack instructor. He was a chief test pilot for India's home grown LCA Tejas, and also led the flight test centre for the Light Combat Aircraft as its project director. As Deputy Chief of Air Staff, he was also head of the contract negotiating committee for Rafale fighter jets which India procured from Dassault, a France defence entity under a G-to-G direct purchase. 

The government is sticking up to the tradition this time and decided to go with the senior-most officer in succession, unlike in selecting General Bipin Rawat as the Army chief in 2017 and Admiral Karambir Singh as Navy chief earlier this year, both of whom had superseded their seniors. 

Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa and Air Marshal Bhadauria were to retire together on September 30. Chiefs of the three services retire either after serving as chief for three years, or on attaining the age of 62, whichever is earlier. But with his elevation, Air Marshal Bhadauria will now retire on September 30, 2021. So, to make it happen smoothly, the Air Marshal Bhadauria receives ceremonial handover at forenoon from incumbent Chief Air Marshal Dhanoa. 

Air Marshal Bhadauria was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Air Force in June 1980 and had won the Sword of Honour as he stood at the top in the overall order of merit in the National Defence Academy. 

He held many distinctions during his nearly four decades career, commanding a Jaguar squadron and a premier Air Force Station. Where he is known for his unique approach  for carrying bombing from the Jaguar aircraft using the Global Positioning System (GPS). It made a great deal of difference in Operation Safed Sagar in 1999. 

He was the air attaché at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Deputy Chief of Air Staff at Air Headquarters and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command.

He is tasked immediately to arrest the depleting squadron of IAF. His experience on LCA Tejas will be valuable in pulling the Tejas out of slow gear and onto the fast track. Crucially, he will be in the helm during the 114 fighter jets acquisition which is seen as the biggest such deal under the modernization of the IAF.  Along, the India's quest for indigenous fifth generation Advance Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is underway and the new Chief of Air Staff (COAS) will be playing a critical role in driving the program.

They were other names in the list for the IAF Chief post that included Air Marshal R Nambiar, who heads the Western Air Command, and Southern Air Commander, Air Marshal B. Suresh. Along, Air Marshal R Nambiar, who is a veteran of the 1999 Kargil war, was also instrumental in navigating through the technical evaluation and negotiations for the 36 Rafale fighter jets.

New Chief Bhadauria is married to Mrs Asha Bhadauria and they are blessed with a daughter and a son.

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