India has got its new Air Chief. Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria has been named as the next chief of the Indian Air Force. Serving presently as the Vice Chief of IAF, Bhadauria will take over the reigns from Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa when he retires on September 20, 2019. Commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in June 1980, RKS Bhadauria has held various command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff. Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria has over 4270 hours of flying experience. He can fly at least 28 types of aircraft including fighter and transport.
Meet RKS Bhadauria, man who led Rafale negotiations
RKS Bhadauria is the man behind Rafale negotiation deal. He was heading contract negotiations with France for the Rafale fighter jet acquisition during his tenure as Deputy Chief of Air Staff. RKS Bhadauria looked after complex negotiations of the Rafale deal overcoming significant hurdles and finally ensuring the signing of the deal in September 2016. It is due to RKS Bhadauria's role that the first tail number of Rafale is RB008. The first lot of the 36 fighters ordered for the Indian Air Force are scheduled to be delivered in October, 2019.
Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria has also been a key person for Light Combat aircraft Tejas for various years as chief Experimental Test Pilot and Project director of the National Flight Test Centre. Bhadauria is a Category A qualified, certified flying instructor. He is also a pilot attack instructor and the CO of the Flight Test Squadron at the Aircraft & System Testing Establishment comprising India’s foremost test pilots.
RKS Bhadauria was also the air attache in Russia and then went on to become Assistant chief of Air staff (Projects). He also added equipment and procurement due to his experience.
RKS Bhadauria graduated from National Defence Academy with the Sword of Honour on June 15, 1980 as a fighter pilot. He has the unique distinction of being a Cat 'A' Qualified flying instructor, an experimental Test pilot as well as a Pilot Attack Instructor and has topped all these professional courses.
Awards and accomplishments of RKS Bhadauria:
During his illustrious career, Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria was commended by the Chief of Air Staff in 1987 and has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal in 2002, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2013, Param Vishisht Seva Medal in 2018 and appointed as Honorary Air Force ADC to the President of India.