New Delhi, June 1 (ANI): Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora on Monday assumed charge as the new Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at Air Headquarters.
He was formerly the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of IAF’s Western Air Command (WAC) and Eastern Air Command (EAC).
During his command, he promoted increased interaction between WAC and the other Army Commands of Northern, Western and South Western Commands resulting in the successful culmination of some flag-bearer joint exercises – ‘Achook Waar’, ‘Udaan Prahaar’ and ‘Hind Shakti’.
The command continues to provide air support to Army units deployed in the glacier region.
Among other accomplishments achieved during his tenure as the Chief of IAF’s largest operational command include the reactivation of Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) airfield after over four decades of closure and that of the Fuk Che Advanced Landing Ground (ALG).
The Su-30 MKIs also operated from Leh – unarguably the highest airbase in the world during his tenure.
Under his command, WAC achieved very high aircraft utilization rates even as night operations by the fighter and transport aircraft increased substantially.
The operational command that accounts for nearly thirty-five per cent of IAF’s flying task recorded ‘zero’ flying accident rate at the end of the last fiscal year.
Air Marshal Barbora was born on December 10, 1950 in Shillong and was commissioned into the IAF as a fighter pilot on June 13, 1970.
A highly experienced aviator with over 3500 hours to his credit, he took part in the 1971 war.
A qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat leader, he has been on the staff of Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment – a premiere flying establishment of the IAF.
He twice served in the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) at Air Headquarters. He is a graduate of the College of Combat, Mhow where he completed his higher command course.
He was a member of the IAF team that inducted the first Jaguar Squadron and also the IAF’s maiden Air Combat Simulator – the first of its kind in Asia.
Among his several operational assignments include Command of a MiG-21 squadron, Chief Operations Officer of a fighter airbase and Air Officer Commanding of a premier fighter airbase under Eastern Air Command.
He has been Air Attaché at the Embassy of India, Moscow and Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Perspective Plans and Force Structure) in HQ Integrated Defence Staff besides holding the appointment of Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Inspection) at Air Headquarters.
He served a tenure as Senior Air Staff Officer, EAC before he took charge as the AOC-in-C for the first time. He subsequently became the AOC-in-C of WAC.
He is among the first few officers hailing from the North East to reach such a coveted high post in the Armed Forces.
Air Marshal Barbora is a recipient of Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) and Vayu Sena Medal (VM). (ANI)