Air Marshal Arup Raha, an ace fighter pilot, will be the next Air Force chief succeeding incumbent Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne who is retiring on December 31.
Born on December 26, 1954, 59 year-old Raha is expected to have a tenure of three years as the Chief of Air Staff.
“The Government has decided to appoint Air Marshal Raha, who is at present the Vice Chief of Air Staff, as the next Chief of the Air Staff after the retirement of Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne,” a Defence Ministry release said.
He has also served as Air Attache at the Embassy of India in Ukraine. Besides various technical courses, Raha has done Strategic Nuclear Orientation Course and Junior Commanders’ course.
He has commanded Central Air Command and Western Air Command. Raha has served as Directing Staff at Flying Instructors School, Tambaram (Tamil Nadu) as well as at the Gwalior-based Tactics and Combat Development Establishment of the IAF.
The IAF Chief-designate will get the command of the force at a time when it is engaged in a tussle with its largest supplier Hindustan Aeronautics Limited over the issue of indigenous and foreigner trainer aircraft.
The IAF is also engaged in intense negotiations for the procurement of 126 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft from the French firm Dassault Aviation.