Ace fighter pilot Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) on 30th September at a ceremony at Air Headquarters, in the capital. He took over the reins from Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.
Outlining the focus areas for Commanders and personnel, the 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”.
The new Air Chief, who has served in various important capacities at both field formations and air headquarters, is taking over the force at a time when the country is engaged with China in protracted talks to ease the situation in Eastern Ladakh.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari would be responsible for the operationalization of modern air defence systems like the S-400 from Russia, which are going to be inducted by the end of this year. He would also be responsible for the continued modernisation of the fighter aircraft fleet as more indigenous and foreign origin fighter aircrafts are planned to be inducted in the near future.
An alumnus of NDA, the CAS was commissioned in 1982 in the fighter stream of the IAF. He has flown more than 3800 hours on multiple fighter and trainer aircrafts. During his career spanning almost four decades, the CAS has tenanted many significant command and staff appointments. He has commanded a MiG-29 Squadron, two Air Force Stations and Western Air Command. His staff appointments include Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ 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 DSCSC in Zambia. Prior to assuming the present appointment, he was the Vice Chief of the Air Staff.