Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria takes charge as IAF chief

Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, on September 30 took over as the 26th Chief of Indian Air Force (IAF). Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, who was the Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS), has now succeeded the departing Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa. Now, he will go to National War Memorial to pay homage.

Bhadauria was appointed as the new chief of Indian Air Force earlier in the month by the Indian government and was expected o take over charge from Dhanoa on September 30. His term will be for two years.

Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria (Credits: India Today/ IAF)

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Pune, Bhadauria has a sensational record to his name, as he has clocked over 4,250 hours of flying and has flown 26 various types of fighter jets during his lifetime.

The new IAF chief worked as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command from March 2017 to August 2018.

He also plied his trade as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Training Command from August 2018 and held the office till his elevation to the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in May 2019.

During his 39-year-long productive career, RKS Bhadauria has been awarded numerous medals including the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, the Vayu Sena Medal, and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal. He was also recruited as honorary Aide De Campe to the President of India in January this year.

Bhadauria was among the first IAF officers to fly the Rafale fighter jet and according to the sources, he played a substantial role in finalising the Rafale deal with France.

Addressing the reporters after taking over as the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said, “We were prepared then, we will be prepared next time. We will be ready to face any challenge, any threat.”

When asked about the recent reports of Pakistan reactivating the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps that were demolished in the Balakot airstrikes in February, IAF chief said, “We are aware of the reports and we will take the necessary action as and when required.”

Talking to news agency ANI, Bhadauria added that the induction of Rafale fighter jets will be an ultimate turning point for the Air Force.

He said, “My first priority is the modernisation and indigenous capability in view of all budget constraints. Rafale will be a game-changer in our operational capability. It will give India an edge over Pakistan and China.”