Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria takes over as new IAF chief from BS Dhanoa
Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Monday took over as the 26th chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, who demitted office on his superannuation, on Monday.
Bhadauria, who was serving as the Vice Chief of Air Staff, was earlier heading IAF’s Bengaluru-based Training Command. As the Deputy Chief, he was the chairman of the Indian negotiating team for the 36 Rafale combat aircraft deal with France.
Bhadauria is one of the few Air Force pilots to fly a Rafale. In July, during Exercise Garuda between the Air Forces of India and France, Bhadauria had flown the Rafale aircraft.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Bhadauria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1980 and won the coveted ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in the overall order of merit.
He went on to hold several important positions such as Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at the Central Air Command and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff from January 2016 to February 28, 2017. Bhadauria served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command from March 1, 2017. He took over as the chief of Bengaluru-based Training Command on August 1, 2018.
During his nearly four decades career, Bhadauria commanded a Jaguar squadron and a premier Air Force Station. He devised a method for carrying bombing from the Jaguar aircraft using the Global Positioning System (GPS). This was especially relevant for the bombing role of Jaguar aircraft in Operation Safed Sagar in 1999.Bhadauria also has 4250 hours of experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft with the unique distinction of being an Experimental Test Pilot, a category ‘A’ Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor.