Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria to be next Chief of Air Staff

Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria to be next Chief of Air Staff

Bengaluru: The government has decided to appoint current Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria as the next Chief of the Air Staff.

Fondly known as ‘Chottu Sir’ among aviators and friends, Air Marshal Bhadauria is the man who played a significant role during the development and induction phases of Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.

During his stint at SAC, Thiruvananthapuram, Air Marshal Bhadauria was instrumental in strengthening the Air Defence Network of the Southern Peninsula. He was also in the forefront of rescue and relief efforts of IAF during Cyclone Ockhi and Theni fire.

A recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal, this top air warrior ensured that he stayed away from the media glare during most part of his career, even while the Rafale controversy was at its peak.

As the chairman of the Indian Negotiation Team, he as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff, played a key role that resulted in India inking the pact for 36 Rafale jets.

Bhadauria, will take over on October 1, succeeding Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, who retires from service on September 30.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy where he won the coveted 'Sword of Honour' for standing first in the overall order of merit, he was commissioned into the IAF's fighter stream in June 1980.

Apart from his proficiency in various aircraft of the IAF, Bhadauria is also an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor.

His many command, staff and instructional appointments including heading a Jaguar Squadron and a key Air Force Station, commanding the Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment, and being the Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project.

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