The government has announced on December 17 that Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa will take over as the new Chief of the Air Staff. Air Marshal Dhanoa, presently the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, will take over after Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha retires on December 31.
Air Marshal Dhanoa is an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College, National Defence Academy and a post-graduate from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He was commissioned in the IAF as a fighter pilot in June 1978, is a Cat ‘A’ Qualified Flying Instructor and has flown over 3,000 hours on various front line operational aircraft. He has held various command and staff appointments including Commanding Officer of a MiG-21 squadron and Station Commander of a front line fighter base.
He was the first to command an Indian Military Training Team in Tajikistan. His operational experience includes command of a fighter squadron during Operation Safed Sagar, which earned many accolades. He has also served as Chief Instructor (Air) at Defence Services Staff College, and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air HQ, Senior Air Staff Officer of Eastern Air Command and Senior Air Staff Officer of Western Air Command. Prior to assuming the appointment of Vice Chief of the Air Staff on June 1, 2015, he was the Air Officer Commandingin-Chief of South Western Air Command.
In recognition for his meritorious services, he was awarded YSM, VM in 1999, and AVSM in 2015 by the President of India. He will be the third Sikh to head the IAF after distinguished military leaders like Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh.