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.

Archived versions of the claims can be found here, here and here.

Fact Check:

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.

Claim Review :   Fact Check: IAF pilot Hilal Ahmad Rather fly Rafale jet from France to India
Claimed By :  Social Media Users
Fact Check :  False

Satya Priya BN

Motivated professional with a zeal to learn, Sathya Priya has more than 5 years of experience as a Content and Digital manager in Press, Electronic and Digital media. She is Andhra Pradesh government accredited Multimedia Journalist. Ms Priya has worked for more than 4 years as Web and Digital media manager in Bhaarat Today, telugu TV channel. Along with news, she has experience in television program production. Demonstrated excellent management and leadership skills to lead the Digital Media staff. Worked collaboratively with staff, management and IT support. A science Post Graduate, with great computing skills, She is a fact checker certified by Google News Initiative. She has also completed Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certification from Google.

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