NEW DELHI: The tail number of the first 'acceptance' Rafale combat aircraft, which has been delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF), bears the name of Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, who has been appointed as the new chief of the country's air force.
The tail number of the first Rafale aircraft to India is RB-01.
Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, will take over as 26th Chief of the Air Staff. He will be taking over the command from the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee & Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC, who is due to retire by the end of the month.
Air Mshl RKS Bhadauria PVSM AVSM VM ADC will take over as 26th Chief of the Air Staff.
He will be taking over the command from the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee & Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Mshl BS Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, who is due to retire end of the month. pic.twitter.com/8uWevAGMpD
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 19, 2019
Bhadauria was commissioned in the fighter stream of IAF on 15 Jun 1980 and is a recipient of 'Sword of Honour'. He has over 4250 hours of flying on 26 types of fighters and aircraft. He has been the AOC-in-C for two commands and has been overseeing IAF Operations as VCAS.
After a long wait, the IAF finally received its first ‘acceptance’ Rafale combat aircraft from French firm Dassault Aviation on Thursday. Deputy Air Force Chief Air Marshal VR Chaudhary also flew in the aircraft for around one hour.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore.
The major defence deal was at the centre of massive political controversy with the Congress and the other Opposition parties alleging corruption by the Narendra Modi government in the deal.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets in Paris on October 8 - the foundation day of the Indian Air Force, according to government sources.
The aircraft is capable of carrying a range of potent weapons and missiles.
The IAF has already completed preparations, including readying required infrastructure and training of pilots, to welcome the fighter aircraft.
According to reports, the first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala Air Force station, considered one of the most strategically located bases of the IAF.