NEW DELHI: Air Marshal B Suresh took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force on Friday.
Air Marshal Suresh, an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun was commissioned as a fighter pilot on 13 December 1980 after passing out from National Defence Academy, Pune.
He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. Air Marshal was awarded 'Sword of Honour' at the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). TACDE is a premier institution that develops comprehensive offensive/defensive combat tactics to be adopted by all components of airpower in war. He did his post-graduate course from Cranfield University, Shrivenham, United Kingdom.
The officer has flown almost all fighter aircraft and helicopters of the IAF. The officer has held a number of coveted command and staff appointments. He has done three tenures at TACDE with the last being as the Commandant of the Establishment during which time, the 'Beyond Visual Range' Air-to-Air Missile tactics were developed.
He is widely acclaimed as a strategist and tactician of repute within Air Force circles and as the Exercise Director, he is credited with having been the mastermind behind IAF's superlative performance during Exercise Cope India 2004 - the first international bilateral exercise with the United States Air Force held after a gap of nearly 40 years. He was again nominated as the 'Exercise Director' for the first-ever bilateral exercise with the 'Republic of Singapore Air Force' - Ex SINDEX 2004 - where once again IAF excelled. For his role played, he was awarded with Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) as a Group Captain thus becoming one of the youngest recipients of this Presidential Award.
He commanded a fighter squadron which specialized in maritime airstrikes and was deployed along the Western border during the Kargil war. Thereafter, he was a flying inspector with the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) – the agency that checks all units and bases for their war readiness and TACDE as a Group Captain. He was then appointed as the Director Operations (Joint Planning) to look after Tri-service cooperation. The officer has commanded one of the largest airbases of the IAF in the western sector as an Air Commodore. He was also the Air Assistant to the Chief of Air Staff. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the important appointment of Assistant Chief of Air Staff [Operations (Air Defence)] for nearly four years, wherein he was also the Air Force member of the Tri-service Joint Operations Committee (JOCOM).
After being promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in 2014, he was appointed as the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Western Air Command wherein he brought about remarkable improvements in the operational orientation and battle readiness of the command with increased synergy with the three associated commands of the Indian Army viz - Northern Command, Western Command and South Western Command.
Before taking over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, he was heading Southern Air Command. The entire 'Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts during the Kerala floods was spearheaded by Southern Air Command under his leadership. This was one of the highest intensity HADR efforts undertaken by IAF in recent history.
The Air Marshal is married to Mrs Radha Suresh and they are blessed with a son and a daughter.