Vice Air Chief Marshal of Indian Air Force Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria has been appointed as the next Air Chief Marshall of the IAF by the government of India. This comes after a few months of him being appointed as the Vice ACM of IAF in May. Succeeding the current ACM BS Dhanoa, RKS Bhadauria will be taking charge of the IAF after BS Dhanoa’s retirement on September 30. He recently took a sortie of newly inducted Rafale jets and said that the induction of Rafale would be a gamechanger for the IAF.
Soon to be ACM RKS Bhadauria was commissioned into the Indian Air Force on June 15, 1980, and he has achieved various accomplishments in his career since then. Experienced in 26 types of fighters, the Vice ACM has clocked over 4,250 hours in flight. He has also served in various important administrative and operational positions during the span of his career. He was the Commander of Jaquar Squadron at the front-line base in the South-Western sector and he has also served as the Commanding Officer of Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft and System Testing Establishment. Apart from this, he has been in several positions like, Chief Test Pilot, and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on the Tejas LCA project, Air Attache in Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff.
He recently flew the French Air Force's Rafale fighter aircraft at the Mont De Marsan base. He had explained that the French-made Rafale fighter and Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKI would be a deadly combination against enemy forces. During this sortie, the Air Vice chief also said that the IAF tried to understand how well Rafale and Sukhoi Su-30 complemented each other and how the IAF can utilise both in the best way possible. Bhadauria has also been the head of the Indian team that negotiated the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets with France in 2016.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC took over as the Chief of the Air Staff on January 1, 2017. He was commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot. Among many feathers in his hat, present chief ACM BS Dhanoa led the IAF punch during the ‘Limited War’ against Pakistan as the Commanding Officer of a front-line ground attack fighter squadron. He will be retiring on September 30 post which Vice ACM RKS Bhadauria will take his position.