Change of guard in the IAF; New Chief to take over on October 1

By: |
September 22, 2021 3:32 PM

Air Marshal Bhaduria has been a chief test pilot for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’ and he has logged more than 4,250 hours of flying experience.

The new Chief will be taking over at a time when the IAF is contemplating leasing of mid-air refuellers. (Image: Twitter via IE)

Next month the Indian Air Force (IAF) will have a new chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhari, following the retirement of Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria on September 30. He will take over the office on October 1, just a few days ahead of the annual Air Force Day. The new chief is presently the Vice Chief of IAF, an office which he had taken over on July 1, 2021 when Air Marshal HS Arora had retired.

More about the new chief

According to the Ministry of Defence, the new chief was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF in 1982 and has logged more than 3,800 flying hours. He has the experience of flying both fighter and trainer aircraft and has also flown during different missions including – Operation Safed Sagar (IAF had provided support to the ground forces during the Kargil conflict in 1999); he has also flown during Operation Meghdoot (this was IAF’s support to capture Siachen Glacier in 1980).

The new chief is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and during his career he has commanded a fighter base and a frontline fighter squadron. Besides being the Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy, he has also held office as Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers) and also as Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence).

Air Marshal VR Chaudhari has held office of the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ and at the Eastern Air Command he was the Senior Air Staff Officer. And before he became the Vice Chief of the IAF earlier this year, he has also served as the commander-in-chief of the Western Air Command (WAC). The WAC is considered to be the largest air command of the IAF and is responsible for keeping the borders with China and Pakistan, this command is also responsible for protecting the Ladakh region where the armies of India and China are involved in a 16 month long standoff, since the summer of 2020.

He is a recipient of several honours including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, as well as the Vayu Sena medals, according to the statement issued by the Ministry of Defence.

Some deals for IAF in pipeline

The new Chief will be taking over at a time when the IAF is contemplating leasing of mid-air refuellers.

Approval has been given for new transport aircraft to replace the old Avros.

Ten drones from the US based General Atomics. Approval for the deal is expected soon.

Purchase of phased out Mirage-2000 from the French air Force.

Deal for 114 fighters to strengthen the Squadrons is pending

On the Operations front India and China continue to be in a long standoff in the eastern Ladakh region. He has the experience of both Eastern and Western Command, which will be of great value.

Pakistan and continued attempts by terrorists to infiltrate continues to be a matter of concern.

Afghanistan is under the rule of Taliban and the fear of terrorist groups working out from that country remains a matter of concern for India and the armed forces.

More about Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria

He is retiring on September 30 and in 2019 he took over from the former chief BS Dhanoa. Though he was about to retire on the day he was appointed as a chief, he got a two year tenure as a chief. He had won the Sword of Honour and was commissioned in the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980.

Air Marshal Bhaduria has been a chief test pilot for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’ and he has logged more than 4,250 hours of flying experience. And has flown 26 types of transport and fighter aircraft including the latest Rafale in the IAF fleet. The present chief was also heading the Contract Negotiating Committee for the French Rafale fighter jets deal.

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