New Delhi: Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a Kargil war veteran and first-rate fighter pilot will be the next Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) succeeding incumbent Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha who relinquishes the office on December 31.
Commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot, Dhanoa is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
Born on September 7, 1957, 59-year-old Air Marshal Dhanoa is expected to have tenure of about three years as the Chief of Air Staff.
Born in Punjab’s SAS Nagar, Mohali district, Air Marshal Dhanoa comes from a family of war veterans. His grandfather Capt Sant Singh was with the British Indian Army and fought in the World War-II against the Japanese. His father, Sarayan Singh, served as the Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab during the 1980s and later served as advisor to the state governor.
Prior to moving in as Vice-Chief, he was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Command. Air Marshal Dhanoa is a qualified flying instructor and has flown various types of fighter aircraft in his successful career.
During the Operation Vijay in 1999 (Kargil Operations), he famously commanded a fighter squadron and himself flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.
He has distinguishably served various important operation appointments including Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters and Senior Air Staff Officer of two operational Commands.
He was awarded Yudh Seva Medal (YSM), Vayusena Medal (VM) in 1999, and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2015.
In another high-profile appointment, Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, the vice chief of the Indian Army, was tapped in as the next Army chief, succeeding General Dalbir Singh Suhag.