01 Jan 2017 - 30 Sep 2019
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC took over as the Chief of the Air Staff on 31 December 2016. He was commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot. He is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
The Air Chief Marshal has mainly flown the MiG-21 aircraft with flying experience across the entire spectrum of Fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. During the Limited War in Kargil (1999), as the Commanding Officer of 17 Sqn (Golden Arrows), a ground attack fighter squadron, he led the IAF in evicting the enemy from their dug in defences in the icy heights of Kargil region. For his bravery, courage and innovative methodology of night bombing in mountainous region, he was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal.
As the Chief of the Air Staff, he headed the IAF as it executed Air Strikes over Balakot deep inside Pakistani territory in February 2019. The success of these strikes was ensured through his relentless efforts to train, equip and focus IAF operations towards retaining its dominant power. Pan-India exercises like Gagan-Shakti and Vayu Shakti ensured that the IAF was prepared to act on a short notice for any duty in service of the nation. His tenure at the helm of the IAF has seen several inductions (Chinook, Apache, Rafale, S-400 etc) and he has actively pursued the required procurement of necessary equipment and weapon systems for the IAF. As the Chairman COSC, he has laid emphasis on enhancing synergy amongst the forces. Importantly, he is making invaluable and insightful contributions in the Implementation Committee for Appointment of CDS.
In recognition for his meritorious service the Air Chief Marshal has been awarded the Yudh Seva Medal (YSM), Vayu Sena Medal (VM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM). He was appointed Principal Honourary ADC to the President of India on 01 January 2017. The Air Chief Marshal has been appointed as the Chairman, Chiefs of the Staff Committee on 31 May 19.