• India’s new Chief of Air Staff brings in a new era to the force

New Delhi. 30 September 2021.  Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM,takes over the Indian Air Force from  Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC.

The outgoing Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria laid a wreath at the National War Museum after which he arrived at Air HQ for a traditional ‘walk through’, before he handed over charge. He was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour prior to his ‘Drive Out’ and send off from the IAF.

The transition ceremony was marked by a ceremonial Guard of Honour for the new Chief, after which he officially took over the appointment of Chief of Air Staff with the Principal Staff Officers of Air HQ in attendance.

In his address to the IAF, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said that he was honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading the Indian Air Force. Extending greetings to all Air Warriors, Non Combatants (Enrolled), DSC personnel, civilians and their families, CAS expressed absolute faith and confidence in their ability to accomplish all assigned tasks with resolute dedication while maintaining IAF’s operational capability at an all-time high. 

Outlining the focus areas for Commanders and personnel, CAS said, “Protection of our Nation’s sovereignty and integrity is to be ensured at any cost”.  He added that enhancement of operational capability through integration of newly inducted platforms, weapons and equipment with existing assets and dovetailing the same in concepts of operations would remain a priority area. He spoke on aspects of acquisition of new technology, promotion of indigenization and innovation, strengthening of cyber security, rapid adaptation of training methods to meet future demands and sustained work to nurture human resources. CAS urged all to “always uphold the ethos and credo of the ‘Air Warrior’, and strive to be an asset to the IAF in any role tasked for”.

 Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM, was commissioned into the Fighter stream of Indian Air Force on 29th December 1982 and has held various Command, Staff and Instructional Appointments at various levels including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff.

The Air Officer has flown various aircraft and is experienced on MiG-21, MiG-23MF, MiG-29 and SU-30MKI with a flying experience over 3800 hrs.

He is a Cat A Qualified Flying Instructor, a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College and an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner.  The Air Marshal has a rich experience of operational flying, having undertaken numerous Air Defence missions during Op-Meghdoot and Op-Safed Sagar.

The Air Officer has been an Air Force Examiner on several types of fighter and trainer aircraft.  He commanded a MiG-29 Squadron and served as the Chief Operations Officer of Air Force Station Srinagar.  He commanded a forward base before taking over as Air I at HQ CAC IAF.  He has been an Instructor at DSSC Wellington as well as DSCSC at Zambia.  He served as the AA to the CAS and later commanded Air Force Station Pune. On promotion to AVM, he tenanted the appointment of Deputy Commandant Air Force Academy and as ACAS Ops (Air Defence).  Before taking over as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff he was the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).

During his illustrious career in the IAF, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron and has also commanded a frontline Fighter Base. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the coveted appointments of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers) at Air HQ Vayu Bhawan. As an Air Marshal, he held the appointment of Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ Vayu Bhawan. Prior to his present appointment, he was the Commander-in-Chief Western Air Command, before which he was Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command .The Air Marshal is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. In recognition of his distinguished service, the Air Marshal has been decorated with PVSM, AVSM, VM. He is also an alumnus of the National Defence Academy .

Pride is the emotion of the former teachers and alumni of BHEL Higher Secondary School, Ramachandrapuram, Hyderabad, today. The school has since shut down but its old boy is the Chief of Indian Air Force today. Very rarely would a school in a civilian organisation have produced so many who grew up to don the uniform of the armed forces. The school has produced many such illustrious alumni and one of them Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari who took over as the Chief of Air Staff of Indian Air Force today.