Meet Hilal Ahmad Rather, India's first IAF officer to fly weaponised Rafale
New Delhi, July 29: The first batch of the much-awaited five Rafale fighter jets that took off from France on July 27 will reach India today around 2 PM. In the moment of euphoria over the arrival of one of world's best fighter jets, Indian social media users were quick to point out the important role played by Hilal Ahmad Rather.
The man behind the quick delivery of Rafale jets is touted to be Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather, who is currently serving as an Air Attaché to France.
India and France had signed an inter-governmental agreement in September 2016 for 36 Rafale jets worth Rs 59,000 crore deal. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had gone to Merignac airbase on October 9, 2019, to perform 'Puja' to get the early delivery of the first batch of Rafale fighter jets purchased by India.
Born in the south Kashmir's Anantnag district to middle-class parents, Hilal's father, late Mohammad Abdullah Rather retired as a deputy superintendent of police (Dy SP) in J&K police department.
He has three sisters and is the only son of his parents.
Hilal was commissioned in Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot on December 17, 1988. He became flight lieutenant in 1993, wing commander in 2004, group captain in 2016 and air commodore in 2019. He graduated from defence services staff college (DSSC). He also graduated from air war college (USA) with distinction. He won the sword of honour in NDA.
Recipient of Vayu Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva medal, Hilal has a record of 3,000 accident-free flying hours on different aircraft.