Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria Appointed As New Indian Air Force Chief

Air Vice Chief Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC has been appointed as the next Chief of the Air Staff. Principal spokesperson of the Defence Ministry announced Bhadauria’s appointment as the next Chief of Air Staff. Bhadauria took over as the Vice Chief of Air Staff on May 1. Bhadauria will take over as the Chief of Air Staff after the present chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa retires on September 30. Interestingly, Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria was also due to retire on the same day as BS Dhanoa. But now that he has been appointed as the Chief of Air staff, he will serve a three-year term or till the age of 62. With the appointment of Bhadauria for the post, the Modi government has followed the seniority principle, unlike what was done for the army and navy. The other names that were being considered for the IAF Chief post included Air Marshal R Nambiar, who heads the Western Air Command, and Southern Air Commander, Air Marshal B. Suresh. Bhadauria has played a major role in the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme. Bhadauria had a close connection with the combat jet, as he was a Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of the National Flight Test Centre on the LCA project. He was involved in the initial prototype flight tests on the Tejas.

Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Pune. He commissioned in air force in 15 June 1980. He has clocked over 4250 hours of flying and has experience of 26 different types of fighters. Bhadauria served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command from March 2017 August 2018. He also served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command from August 2018 and held the office till his elevation to the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in May this year. During 36 years of his career, RKS Bhadauria has been awarded several medals Like Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, the Vayu Sena Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal. He was appointed honorary Aide De Campe to the President of India in January 2019.

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