New Delhi. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took over as the 25th Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a ceremony held at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) in New Delhi December 31.
In his address to the IAF, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said: I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility to lead one of the finest Air Forces in the world. I will certainly be inspired by the exceptional achievements and the leadership of so many of my illustrious predecessors.
He pointed out that IAF is on a trajectory of modernisation and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full-spectrum capability. Accretion through new acquisitions, replacement of obsolete equipment with state-of-the-art inductions and upgrade of the vintage weapon platforms would bolster our capabilities,adding that forthcoming inductions of the Rafale aircraft, Attack and Heavy Lift Helicopters, Force Enhancers, SAGW and Air Defence Radars hold great promise for the future.
“Also, it has been a matter of great national pride, to usher in the first Tejas squadron of the IAF.
“Simultaneously, our Airfield Infrastructure Modernisation programme and upgradation in Communications Network have strengthened the support structure for effective operations. While undertaking its modernisation, the IAF has taken an active and sustained role in the Make in India plan, to take forward indigenous production of combat aircraft, helicopters, weapon sensors and systems, besides other aviation equipment. A vibrant and flourishing domestic capability would be an essential ingredient for the Nation to continue its glorious evolution.”
He expressed pride at the way India’s image worldwide has been showcased through the IAF’s strategic reach. Commending IAF’s role as first responders in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) situations and aid to civil authorities in rendering stability to volatile situations on many occasions, besides bringing succour to people in distress.
The Air Chief stressed the importance of training and equipping IAF to deter the sub-conventional threats. He reiterated the need for focused approach to enhance aerospace safety and IAF’s commitment for better standards of living for all its air warriors, urging them also to follow the fine traditions of IAF.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa was commissioned into the Flying Branch of IAF as a fighter pilot in June 1978. He is a Qualified Cat ‘A’ Flying Instructor and has more than 3,000 hours of flying with an immaculate flight safety record.
He is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.
The Air Chief has many laurels to his credit. As Commanding Officer of a frontline ground attack fighter squadron, equipped with MiG-21 aircraft, he led the IAF punch during the ‘limited war’ against Pakistan in 1999 to evict the enemy from their ‘dug in’ positions in the icy heights of Kargil region, sometime employing unique, out-of-the-box, day and night tactics. For his outstanding bravery and leadership during the conflict, he was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal (YSM).
The Air Chief Marshal has held a number of significant staff appointments at operational Commands, Joint Training Establishments and Air Headquarters. He has been Director Targeting Cell and Director Fighter Operations, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air HQ and Senior Air Staff Officer of Eastern and Western Air Commands. The Air Chief has commanded the South Western Air Command. For his experience and professional excellence, he was handpicked to establish an ‘IAF Training Team’ abroad.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa has been instrumental in developing the aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and for transforming the concept of Air operations of the IAF to contemporary war fighting practices of Air Power. He is an avid reader and writer of issues pertaining to air power and joint operations.
Before taking over as the Chief of the Air Staff, he was the Vice Chief of Air Staff since June 1, 2015.
He is also a recipient of Presidential awards of Vayusena Medal (VM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM). He was appointed as Honorary ADC to the Supreme Commander, the President of India, on August 1, 2015.
His father, Mr SS Dhanoa, distinguished himself as an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and served as Chief Secretary of Punjab in the mid-1980s. Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa is married to Mrs Kamalpreet and they have one son, Jasman, who is a law graduate.