India appoints ace fighter pilot VR Chaudhari as next Air Force Chief


Indian Air Force Air Marshal VR Chaudhari: Indian government Tuesday named Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal VR Chaudhari as the next Air Force Chief who will succeed Chief of Air Staff Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria who is due to retire on the month end.

Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhary was given the responsibility of Western Air Command of Indian Air Force in July last year. The Command looks after the country’s defence in North India, including Ladakh region where Indian Army has been in a tense military stand-off with the Chinese PLA for the last more than one year.

Prior to that, Air Marshal VR Chaudhary was Senior Air Staff Officer in Eastern Air Command. He had succeeded Air Marshal B Suresh in October 2019 after B Suresh retired from the force.

Air Marshal Chaudhary has the experience of handling entire China border as he headed both Eastern and Western Air Commands of Indian Air Force in last two years.

Air Marshal Chaudhary also played crucial role in finalizing the government-to-government deal with France to acquire 36 Rafale fighters to meet the urgenl operational needs of Indian Air Force.

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His appointment as chief of the WAC came at a time when Indian Air Force has been trying to support Indian Army as it faces an aggressive Chinese PLA in Galwan Valley region.

Indian Army lost one colonel and 19 soldiers in a violent face-off with Chinese Army in Galwan Valley region on June 15 last year in which an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers were also killed.

Indian Air Force has already deployed almost all its frontline fighter jets like Sukhoi 30 MKI, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 aircraft in frontier bases in Ladakh as well as in several other places along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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An alumni of the National Defence Academy, Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF on December 29, 1982.

He has flown a range of aircraft including MiG-21, MiG-23MF, MiG-29 and SU-30MKI.

Air Marshal Chaudhary is a CA-A qualified with over 3,800 hours of flying experience in different kind of fighter aircrafts.

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Before taking charge as senior air staff officer of the IAF’s Eastern Air Command, he was the DCAS at Air Headquarters in New Delhi.

A fighter pilot, Air Marshal Chaudhary has been decorated with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.

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