Air Marshal S.P. Dharkar assumed charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command, Indian Air Force on October 1, 2022. An experienced fighter pilot with over 3,600 hrs of flying, he succeeds Air Marshal D.K. Patnaik who superannuated after more than 38 years of distinguished service.
Air Marshal S.P. Dharkar took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at HQ EAC, after relinquishing appointment as the Senior Air Staff Officer at HQ SWAC. Prior to this, he was the founding Director General of the newly formed Defence Space Agency at Bengaluru, after a tenure as the Air Defence Commander at HQ EAC for a short time. He has earlier been Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Training) at Air Headquarters since January 2017. As DG DSA, he was responsible for handling all aspects related to setting up of the new Agency which would control and oversee all aspects of space exploitation in military domain by the Indian Defence Forces in times to come.
Air Marshal Dharkar is a fighter pilot with more than 3600 hrs of flying experience. Since commissioning at the Air Force Academy in June 1985, he has flown various types of jet fighter and trainer aircraft and has significant experience in ground attack / strike roles, predominantly on the MiG-23 BN & MiG-27 aircraft. He is an experienced Qualified Flying Instructor, Fighter Strike Leader and Instrument Rating Instructor & Examiner and has also been an Air Force Examiner. He has commanded a MiG-27 Sqn, and has been Air Officer Commanding of a Fighter Flying Training Establishment.
He is an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College Dehradun, National Defence Academy Pune, Defence Services Staff College Wellington and Air War College USA. He has instructional experience in conducting Professional Military Education for medium and senior level officers at the Defence Services Staff College and at the College of Air Warfare, Secunderabad.