Hyderabad: Several social media users are sharing a message claiming that Kashmir's Hilal Ahmad Rather has become the first pilot to fly a Rafale aircraft from France to India. They have also shared a link to an article published in www.greaterkashmir.com.
Though it is true that Hilal Ahmad Rather played a key role in ensuring that the Rafale jets were ready for Indian conditions and even flew them in France, the claim that he flew the jets from France to India is FALSE.
Air commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather is India's air attaché to France. Hilal hails from south Kashmir's Anantnag district. He became India's first pilot to see off the batch of Rafale jets from France to India on 27 July. He played a crucial role in the early delivery of the Rafales and was previously associated with the weaponization of the aircraft according to the Indian requirements, according to livemint.com.
NewsMeter searched for the pilots who flew the Rafale jets to India and found several articles applauding the bravehearts of the Indian Air Force. The names of the brave pilots of the IAF who flew the jets home are group captain Harkirat Singh, wing commander Abhishek Tripathi, wing commander Manish Singh, wing commander Arun Kumar, and group captain Rohit Kataria.
NewsMeter also found a few videos of the pilots of Rafale jets:
Hence, the claim that air commodore Hilal Ahmed Rather flew Rafale jets from France to India is FALSE.