Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora PVSM VM ADC assumes charge as the new vice chief of 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 prior to that of the Eastern Air Command (EAC).
His tenure at the WAC saw increased interactions with the Northern, Western and South Western Commands of the Indian Army. These resulted in successful joint exercises - 'Achook Vaar', 'Udaan Prahaar' and 'Hind Shakti'.
Among other accomplishments achieved during his tenure as the chief of IAF's largest operational command included the reactivation of Daulat Beg Oldie airfield after over four decades of closure and that of the Fuk Che Advanced Landing Ground (ALG).
The Su-30 MKIs also began operations from Leh, the highest airbase in the world.
Under his command, WAC achieved very high aircraft utilization rates even as night operations by the fighter and transport aircraft increased substantially. Another important accomplishment was the 'zero' flying accident rate achieved by the WAC, although it accounts for nearly thirty-five percent of IAF's flying.
Air Marshal Barbora was commissioned into the IAF as a fighter pilot on 13 June 1970. A highly experienced aviator, with over 3500 hours to his credit, he also 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 (TACDE) - a premiere flying establishment of the IAF. He twice served at the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) at Air Headquarters.
He is also 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 first 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 in the 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 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 the first personality hailing from the country's 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).