The central government has appointed Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria as the chief of the India Air Force (IAF). Bhadauria, who took over as Vice-Chief of Air Staff in May 2019, will take charge from the incumbent IAF Chief B S Dhanoa upon the latter’s superannuation on September 30.
Before being appointed the Vice-Chief of Air Staff, Bhadauria was 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. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Air Force on June 15, 1980, with the 'Sword of Honour' for standing first in the overall order of merit.
During his career of nearly four decades, Bhadauria commanded a Jaguar squadron and a premier Air Force Station.
Bhadauria 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. He also 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.
Bhadauria 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 the Jaguar aircraft in Operation Safed Sagar in 1999.
Bhadauria has 4,250 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. He is one of the few Air Force pilots to fly a Rafale. In July 2019, during Exercise Garuda between the Air Forces of India and France, Bhadauria had flown the Rafale aircraft.
He was the Air Attache at the Indian Embassy in Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air Head Quarters and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command.