Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria took over as the new Vice Chief of Air Staff on Thursday, May 1. He succeeds Air Marshal Anil Khosla who retired on Monday after a career spanning four decades.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Air Marshal Bhadauria was commissioned in the IAF fighter stream on 15 June, 1980 and won the ‘Sword of Honour’ for securing first rank in the overall order of merit.

As a fighter pilot, he has over 4250 hours of experience on 26 types of fighters and transport aircraft with the unique distinction of being an experimental test pilot, a Cat ‘A’ qualified flying instructor and a pilot attack unstructor. He had done his Masters in Defence Studies from Command and Staff College, Bangladesh.

Air Marshal Bhadauria has held a number of appointments, which include Command of a Jaguar Squadron and a premier Air Force Station, Commanding Officer of Flight Test Squadron at Aircraft & System Testing Establishment, Chief Test Pilot and Project Director of National Flight Test Centre on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project.

He was extensively involved in the initial prototype flight tests on the LCA. Air Marshal Bhadauria was also the Air Attache, at EoI Moscow, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Projects), Commandant of the National Defence Academy, and Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ CAC, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command. Prior to assuming the present appointment, he was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Training Command.

During his career, he was commended by the Chief of Air Staff and has been awarded Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Vayu Sena Medal. He is married to Asha Bhadauria and the couple have a daughter and a son.