The New Head of the Indian Air Force


2013-10-30 The Indian Air Force is an important player in an important part of the world.

We have learned from our partner India Strategic that a new head of the Indian Air Force has been appointed.

His background is quite interesting, and he has been the operational commander of the IAF’s spearhead force, Western Air Command (WAC).

The WAC is the largest and most important Air Command of the IAF, comprising sixteen Air Force Bases (AFBs), and is responsible for aerial defense of North India. 

WAC’s Area of Responsibility extends from Kashmir to Rajasthan, covering the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.

According to India Strategic:

Air Marshal Raha will succeed Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne when he retires on December 31, 2013 after a distinguished 41-year career during which he passionately worked for the modernisation of the Indian Air Force.

The new Air Chief has had the distinction of being the Commander-in-Chief of IAF’s spearhead force, the Western Air Command (WAC), as also the Central Air Command (CAC). As is customary, he was brought to the Air Headquarters on June 30 this year as Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) in preparation for his new assignment. This brief preparatory tenure helps a new Chief get familiarised with IAF’s current and future plans as also IAF’s role in India’s strategic perspective.

Air Marshal Raha. Credit: India Strategic
Air Marshal Raha. Credit: India Strategic

The appointment was cleared by the Government some time back and formally announced on October 29.

Air Marshal Raha had joined the IAF on December 14, 1974 as a combat pilot, flying Mig 21 and Mig 29 aircraft in the Fighter Stream of the Flying Branch.

During a career spanning over nearly 39 years, Air Marshal Raha has held various command, staff and instructional appointments. He served as Air Attache at the Embassy of India, Ukraine.

Besides various technical courses, he has done National Defence College (NDC), Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Strategic Nuclear Orientation Course and Junior Commanders’ Course (JCC). He is a recipient of PVSM, AVSM and VM Presidential awards. He is also an Honorary ADC to the President of India, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces.

The new assignment is perhaps the best new year gift the distinguished officer will get. As Air Chief from Dec 31, the New Year’s eve, Air Chief Marshal Raha will be the 24th Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. He will be piloting IAF in the most crucial phase of its transformation and ensure that its various programmes are achieved and secured on time.