Commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot, Dhanoa is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
A qualified flying instructor, he has flown various types of fighter aircraft in his career. During the Kargil Operations, he commanded a fighter squadron and himself flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.
He held a number of important operational appointments including station commander of a fighter base and leader of an Indian Military Training Team abroad. He has also served as chief instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, assistant chief of the air staff (intelligence) and senior air staff officer of two commands.
Prior to this, he was heading the key South Western Air Command.
He succeeds Air Marshal Ravi Kant Sharma, who retired from service May 31.