Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, who was extensively involved in the flights of the LCA Tejas' initial prototypes and has over 4,250 hours of 26 different fighter and transport aircraft, was on Thursday named as the next chief of the Indian Air Force.
Bhadauria, presently the IAF Vice Chief, will take over on October 1, succeeding Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, who retires from service on September 30, an official statement said.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy where he won the coveted 'Sword of Honour' for standing first in the overall order of merit, he was commissioned into the IAF's fighter stream in June 1980.
Apart from his proficiency in various aircraft of the IAF, Bhadauria is also an Experimental Test Pilot, a Cat 'A' Qualified Flying Instructor and a Pilot Attack Instructor.
His many command, staff and instructional appointments including heading a Jaguar Squadron and a key Air Force Station, commanding the Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment, and being the Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project.
Bhadauria 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.
Before taking over as the Vice Chief on May 1 this year, he headed the vital Training Command in Bengaluru.