New chief of Indian Air Force: Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria today took over as the 26th Chief of the Air Staff at Air Headquarters in New Delhi. He has succeeded Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa who was instrumental in laying the road map for the modernisation of one of the largest air force in the world as the deal for acquiring sophisticated anti-ballistic missile defence platform S-400 from Russia was signed during his tenure.
BS Dhanoa was also instrumental in planning and executing a successful airstrike against the terrorist camp near Balakot, which is located across POK, in Pakistan
In his message to the Indian Air Force, RKS Bhadauria made it clear that early operationalisation of new platforms like Rafale fighter jets will be his top priority.
“The focus of the IAF shall be to rapidly operationalise newly inducted platforms and equipment as well as to ensure earliest and complete integration of these capabilities in IAF’s operational plans,” he said.
First Rafale fighter jet will be handed over to Indian Air Force on October 8 in Paris, France with the remaining fighters to be delivered by 2022.
BS Dhanoa, former Chief of Air Staff has called the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets and S-400 anti-ballistic missile defence system a ‘game changer’ for the country’s security.
“There shall be impetus on modernisation through acquisition of crucial technologies and critical capabilities with increased reliance on indigenous design and development,” said RKS Bhadauria in his message to the force.
Prime Minister Modi had launched his flagship scheme Make in India in his first tenure to make India a manufacturing hub. The thrust of the Modi government has been on boosting design and development of defence equipment in the country.
“We shall proactively promote indigenisation for sustenance of all existing fleets and equipment,” said RKS Bhaduria.
He has listed the safety and security of high value assets as one of his top priorities.
Pakistan backed terrorists have launched an audacious raid on Pathankot airbase in 2016. Although Indian security agencies had received intelligence about the attack but they could not prevent the terrorists from entering the Pathankot airbase. However, the terrorists could not destroy any high value platform but the raised serious concerns about the perimeter security of sensitive military installation on Pakistan border.
Given the terror threat to sensitive airbases, RKS Bhadauria laid stress on the importance of training as well the safety of the aircraft and other war fighting equipment.
Four decades long career in Indian Air Force
During his four decade long, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaudaria has held a number of significant field and staff appointments which include command of a front line Jaguar Squadron, command of a premier air Force station in south-western sector.
He was also commanding officer of flight test squadron at aircraft & system testing establishment and chief test pilot as well as project director of national flight test centre on Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) project.
He was extensively involved in the initial prototype flight testing on the LCA. Prior to taking over as the chief of the air staff, he held the appointment of vice chief of the air staff.
Education and Personal Life
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduria is an alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy. He graduated from the Air Force Academy with the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ and was commissioned in the fighter stream of IAF on 15 June 1980.
He has over 4,200 hours of experience on twenty seven types of fighters as well as transport aircraft. He also holds the unique distinction of being an experimental test pilot, a Cat ‘A’ qualified flying instructor and a pilot attack instructor.
He completed his Masters in Defence Studies from Command and Staff College, Bangladesh.
He is married to Asha Bhadauria and has two children – daughter Sonali and son Saurav.