New Delhi: Acquisition of new technologies and promotion of indigenisation will be the key result areas of Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, a fighter pilot, who took over as the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief today from Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria, who retired from service.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari, during his full tenure, will also focus on enhancement of operational capabilities of the IAF through integration of newly inducted platforms, weapons and equipment, such as the Rafale combat aircraft from French Dassault Aviation, and the Apache gunships and Chinook heavy lift helicopters, both from American Boeing Co., with existing legacy systems.
An alumnus of Khadakvasla-based National Defence Academy, the Chief of Air Staff was commissioned in Dec. 1982 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He has flown more than 3800 hours on multiple fighter and trainer aircraft, including MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighter jets from the erstwhile Soviet era and contemporary Russian stable.
During his career spanning almost four decades, the Chief of Air Staff has commanded a MiG-29 Squadron, two Air Force Stations and the Western Air Command at Palam, when he devised and deployed air assets in response to China‘s aggressive military operations in the Ladakh region.
His staff appointments include Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Senior Air Staff Officer at the Eastern Air Command, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers), Deputy Commandant of Air Force Academy and Air Assistant to Chief of the Air Staff.
A Cat ‘A’ Qualified Flying Instructor, he has served as an instructor at flying training establishments and has also been an Air Force Examiner. He was a pioneer member of the Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team.
An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has served as a Directing Staff there. He has also served as Directing Staff at Defence Services Command and Staff College in Zambia. Prior to assuming the present appointment, he was the Vice Chief of the Air Staff.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari is a recipient of Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Vayu Sena Medal (VM) and is honorary Aide de Camp to the President of India.
Outlining the focus areas for commanders and personnel, in his brief address on taking over the new responsibility, he said, “protection of our nation’s sovereignty and integrity is to be ensured at any cost.”
He said 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 also said acquisition of new technology, promotion of indigenisation and innovation, strengthening of cyber security, rapid adaptation of training methods to meet future demands and sustained work to nurture human resources would be the focus.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari, whose son is a Rafale fighter pilot, is among the few military chiefs — in the Indian Army, Indian Navy or the Indian Air Force — to have their child serving in the same force when they are at the helm. Air Chief Marshal N. A. K. Browne, a previous chief, was the Chief of Air Staff when his son was a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter pilot.