By: Talat Mohsin
The Defence Ministry, on Thursday, announced through a tweet that Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria would become the 26th chief of the Indian Air Force. He is presently serving as the Vice- Chief of the air staff.
Air Marshal Bhadauria is a veteran pilot, with a total experience of 4250 hours of flying 26 types of different aircraft, both fighter, and transport planes. As a young pilot, he flew the prototypes of the ingenious Tejas fighter. He is also known for his role in the commercial negotiations of the Rafale jets.
Bhadauria’s name was not in the running before as he was set to superannuate on September 30 after having turned 60 this September. But now, he’ll have a two-year tenure with the IAF’s helm as the military chief can serve up to 62 years or for 3 years, whichever is earlier. He is senior to both the other Air Marshals who were being considered for the position.
The Air Marshal has also held a number of important positions, including the command of Jaguar fighter squadron, air attaché at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Deputy Chief at the Air HQs, and the Air Officer commanding-in-chief of Southern Air Command and the Training Command.
Air Marshal Bhadauria is set to replace Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, who was the 25th chief of the Indian Air Force. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa is set to retire on September 30. He took over as the chief on January 1, 2017.