Air Marshal VR Chaudhari will be the new Chief of Indian Air Force succeeding Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, the Union Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, the current Chief of Air Staff, is set to retire from service on September 30.
In a statement, the Defence Ministry said, "Government of India has decided to appoint Air Marshal VR Chaudhari, presently Vice Chief of Air Staff as the next Chief of Air Staff. Current Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria retires from Service on 30th Sep 2021."
Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari has held command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels and took over as Vice Chief of Air Staff on July 1.
Before becoming Vice Chief of the IAF, he was serving as commander-in-chief of the Western Air Command (WAC) that looks after the security of Indian air space in the sensitive Ladakh sector as well as various other parts of north India.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF on December 29, 1982.
In a distinguished career spanning nearly 38 years, the officer has flown a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft in the inventory of IAF.
He has a flying experience of more than 3,800 hours, including operational flying on MiG-21, MiG-23 MF, MiG 29 and Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
He was the commanding officer of a frontline fighter squadron and has also commanded a frontline fighter base.
Apart from various operational issues, Air Marshal Chaudhari will have to also address matters related to the ambitious theaterisation model of the armed forces.
The theatre commands are being planned to integrate the capabilities of the three services and to ensure optimal utilisation of their resources.
The theatre commands are being set up under a larger mandate of ensuring synergy among the three service chiefs to deal with future security challenges.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has been focusing on bringing convergence among the three services and restructuring military commands to effectively deal with future security challenges.
There has been a growing perception that the Indian Air Force has some reservations about the theaterisation programme.
(with PTI inputs)