IAF gets a new chief: Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari takes over today

By: |
September 30, 2021 6:27 PM

As a new chief of the IAF the biggest challenge will be dealing with the depleting squadron strength of the fighters. Today there are 30 squadrons as against the sanctioned strength of 42.

He has taken over at a time when the IAF is in the process of modernizing its fleet of fighters, transport and helicopters and getting ready to receive for the S-400 Triumf ‘SA-21 Growler’ air defence systems as well Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). (IAF twitter)He has taken over at a time when the IAF is in the process of modernizing its fleet of fighters, transport and helicopters and getting ready to receive for the S-400 Triumf ‘SA-21 Growler’ air defence systems as well Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). (IAF twitter)

On Thursday, Indian Air Force (IAF) welcomed a seasoned fighter pilot Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari as the new chief. He took over from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.

The new chief who has logged 3800 flying hours on various fighters including MiG-21, MiG-23 MF, and MiG-29, and trainer aircraft was also overseeing the aerial response of the country to the Chinese aggression in eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

He has taken over at a time when the IAF is in the process of modernizing its fleet of fighters, transport and helicopters and getting ready to receive for the S-400 Triumf ‘SA-21 Growler’ air defence systems as well Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Challenges for the new chief

As a new chief of the IAF the biggest challenge will be dealing with the depleting squadron strength of the fighters. Today there are 30 squadrons as against the sanctioned strength of 42.

Earlier this year at the Aero-India 2021, the IAF finalized a deal for 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A from state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL); four squadrons of MiG-21 Bison and Jaguars will be decommissioned by 2025. In 2019, as has been reported earlier the IAF had projected that by 2032 the IAF will be left with just 27 squadrons, and by 2042 it will reach an all time low of just 19 squadrons.

In his address to the IAF soon after assuming office as a new chief, he talked about further enhancing of operational capability which will be through integration of newly inducted platforms, weapons and equipment with existing assets. The concepts of operations would remain a priority area, he said.

The new chief talked about strengthening of cyber security; promotion of indigenization and innovation, rapid adaptation of training methods to meet future demands, acquisition of new technology, and sustained work to nurture human resources.

More about the new chief

He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy (NDA) and in December 1982 he was commissioned in the fighter stream of IAF.

He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and has served as a Directing Staff there, and has also served as Directing Staff at DSCSC in Zambia.

Before assuming the new position, he was the Vice Chief of the Air Staff.

Various appointments & commands

Over four decades the new chief has tenanted many significant command and staff appointments.

Besides commanding a MiG-29 Squadron, he has also commanded Air Force Stations and Western Air Command.

He has been a Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ Eastern Air Command, Air Assistant to Chief of the Air Staff, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence).

And, Deputy Commandant of Air Force Academy and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).

He is a qualified Category ‘A’ Flying Instructor, and has served as an instructor at Flying Training Establishments in the country and an Air Force Examiner. And has been a member of the Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team.

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