Champion fighter pilot Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari who was in charge of the Ladakh sector during the peak of the crisis with China, took over as the Chief of Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Thursday, September 30.
According to reports, Chaudhari, who has served in various key capacities at both field formations and air headquarters, would be taking over the force at a time when the country is still in a standoff position at the borders with China and tensions in the region are high due to the situation in Afghanistan. He would also be responsible for the operationalisation of modern air defence systems like the S-400 from Russia, which are going to be installed soon. He would further be responsible for the modernisation of the fighter aircraft fleet as more indigenous and foreign origin fighter aircraft are planned to be inducted in the near future.
Chaudhari, whose son is a Rafale fighter aircraft pilot, also ensured the smooth induction of the Rafales into the Indian Air Force as the Ambala airbase was under him as Western Air Commander. After joining the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in December 1982, he has a flying experience of over 3,800 hours on a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft, including missions flown during Operation Meghdoot, the Air Force's support to capture Siachen glacier in the 1980s, and Operation Safed Sagar.