Air Marshal Balakrishnan Manikantan took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Southern Air Command on May 1, 2023. An alumnus of Sainik School Kazhakootam and National Defence Academy, the Air Marshal was commissioned in the Indian Air Force on June 7, 1986. He has flown over 5400 hrs on various types of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. He is a Helicopter Combat Leader and a Type Qualified Flying Instructor.
The Air Marshal has done instructional tenures at National Defence Academy and at Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE). He has commanded a frontline Helicopter Unit and two premier IAF stations. He has held the appointments of Senior Air and Administrative Staff Officer (SAASO) of HQ Maintenance Command and of ACIDS Int-C at HQ IDS, responsible for international defence cooperation. He holds a PG degree from Defence Services Staff College Wellington, MMS from College of Defence Management Secunderabad and M Phil from National Defence College New Delhi. Prior to assuming the current appointment, he was the Senior Air Staff Officer at Eastern Air Command, handling air operations.
The Air Marshal is a recipient of the Presidential Awards of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vayu Sena Medal (VM).