Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria. (IAF website)
Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria will be the next Chief of Air Staff after the superannuation of incumbent BS Dhanoa, the government announced on Thursday. "Government has decided to appoint Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC presently Vice Chief of Air Staff as the next Chief of the Air Staff," Defence Ministry's Principal Spokesperson, said on Twitter.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the 25th Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, is due to retire on September 30. He took over as the Chief of the Air Staff on January 1, 2017.
Who is Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria?
Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Air Force in 1980 and won the coveted 'Sword of Honour' for standing first in the overall order of merit.
He has more than 4250 hours of experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft with the unique distinction of being an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor, says his profile on the Indian Air Force website.
The Air Marshal has held a number of important appointments, which include, Command of a Jaguar Squadron and a premier Air Force Station, Commanding Officer of Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment, Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. He was extensively involved in the initial prototype flight tests on the LCA, the Air Force website adds.
Air Marshal Bhadauria was also the Air Attache, at EoI Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ CAC, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command. Prior to assuming the present appointment, he was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command.
During his illustrious career, he was commended by the Chief of Air Staff and has been awarded Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal.