The present Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria will take over as the new chief next month after the retirement of Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, on 30th September 2019. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of Indian Air Force in June 1980, and has held various command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff.
He is considered to be one of the finest pilots in the IAF and has flown more than 27 types of fighter and transport aircraft so far, including the French Rafale. He has 4250 hours of experience in flying 26 types of fighter and cargo aircraft. He is a certified flying instructor, an attack instructor of CAT ‘A’ category along with being an experimental test pilot. He is also decorated with PVSM, AVSM, VM and he is one of the ADCs to the Supreme Commander.
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Bhadauria is the officer who was leading India at the negotiating table for the French Rafale fighter combat aircraft and has had an experience in flying the aircraft during the recently concluded Ex Garuda in which he thoroughly tested the technical aspect of the French fighter.
Besides commanding the Jaguar Squadron and a major air force station on the south-western border, he has also been the commanding officer of the flight test squadron at the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment. This institute had conducted the initial flights of LCA Tejas, India’s first indigenous fighter aircraft.
He has held various top positions in the IAF and was also the Commandant of the National Defense Academy, besides the Deputy Chief of Air Staff at Air Force Headquarters at the Indian Embassy in Moscow.
Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, had also visited the IAF contingent during Ex Garuda in France and also flown in the French Rafale in the final mission and tested out its technical capabilities.
According to him once the Rafale is inducted in IAF, together with the Russian Su-30MKI they will be a deadly combination and will ensure that Pakistan will never be able to repeat the Pulwama attack on India.