New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday appointed Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria as the new chief of Indian Air Force. Currently vice chief of air staff, Bhadauria will take over the charge after his predecessor BS Dhanoa retires on September 30.

“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.

Notably, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the 25th Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, will retire on September 30. He took over as the Chief of the Air Staff on January 1, 2017.

It is worth mentioning here is that Bhadauria was also due to retire on the same day as BS Dhanoam, but as he has been appointed as the Chief of Air staff, he will now have to serve a three-year term or till the age of 62, whichever is sooner.

An alumnus of National Defence Academy in Pune, Bhadauria has a flying experience of over 4250 hours and has flown 26 types of fighter jets and transport aircraft. Adorned with PVSM, AVSM, and VM, Bhadauria is one of the ADCs to the supreme commander.

Along with serving as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command from March 2017 August 2018, Bhadauria has also served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Training Command from August 2018. He has held this responsibility until his promotion to the Vice Chief of the Air Staff was done in May this year.

Serving for long 36 years, Bhadauria has been awarded several medals to his credit. Some of the awards include Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal and Param Vishisht Seva Medal.

The first Indian Air Force officer to fly the Rafale fighter jet, Bhadauria was also involved in finalising the deal with France for the fighter jet.