Decorated Air Warrior Who Led Rafale Negotiations: All To Know About New IAF Chief R K S Bhadauria 

by Hemant Bijapurkar - Sep 19, 2019 08:36 PM +05:30 IST
Decorated Air Warrior Who Led Rafale Negotiations: All To Know About New IAF Chief R K S Bhadauria Next IAF Chief R K S Bhadauria

Air Marshal R K S Bhadauria was today (19 September) appointed as the next India Air Force (IAF) Chief by the Government of India. He will take charge from 1 October, a day after the incumbent Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa retires.

Air Marshal Bhadauria is the senior most IAF officer after Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa, and led the Rafale negotiations for India as the chairman of the negotiation team.

During the course of his illustrious career, he has been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Vishisht Seva Medal (VM) and the Sewa Medal (SM) for his services to the Air Force and the country.

Here is a brief profile of our next IAF Chief.

Entering The Air Force

Air Marshal Bhadauria is a graduate of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Pune where he was awarded the coveted “Sword of Honour” for standing first in the overall order of merit. He was inducted in the fighter branch of the IAF on 15 June 1980.

Role During Kargil War

Air Marshal Bhadauria commanded the Jaguar Number 5 squadron Tuskers during operation Safed Sagar.

While his unit did not need to carry out bombing raids, he devised a new GPS method for carrying out bombing via Jaguar aircraft which was very useful during the war.

A Master Of Innovations

Besides developing the aforementioned GPS bombing method, Air Marshal Bhadauria’s squadron also carried out GPS anti-jamming trials and ground adaption of Matra Magic II air-to-air missile. His squadron also submitted papers on the effective use of Airborne Warning and Control System during his tenure.

He served as a Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre during which he was instrumental in developing the initial prototypes of LCA Tejas.

Other Appointments And Experience

During the course of his career, Air Marshal Bhadauria has clocked a whopping 4,250 flying hours and has flown 26 different aircraft. He has notched over 900 hours of instructional flying, 400 hours of test flying and flown 380 hours as Commanding Officer.

He has also served as Air Attache in Russia, the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Senior Air Staff Officer at the Central Air Command, the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command.

Rafale Negotiations

Most prominently Air Marshal Bhadauria was a key member India’s Rafale negotiations with France and became one of the first IAF officials to fly the Rafale jet.

He has been highly positive about the Rafale jets by calling them a game-changer. He had added that the Rafale combined with Sukhoi Su-30 MKI would be a lethal combo for India and Pakistan would dare not come close to LoC due to the aerial threat.

He will oversee the induction of the first Rafale jet on 8 October.

An Unexpected Appointment

While the 60-year-old Air Marshal Bhadauria is the senior most IAF officer after Chief Dhanoa, he was scheduled to retire along with the latter on 30 September. This led many to believe that he would not be in contention for the top post.

But his appointment as IAF Chief now sees his tenure getting extended by 2 years and he would instead retire at the age of 62.

Hemant is a Senior Sub-Editor at Swarajya

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