Kashmiri IAF officer, a key player in Rafale’s India journey
Anantnag: Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather has become a celebrity in his native place in south Kashmir after he was seen with India’s ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf, when the first batch of Rafale jets took off for India on Monday.
He is also the person who played a significant role in the quick delivery of the Rafale jets to India, and among other things, has also been associated with the weaponisation of this fighter aircraft for acclimatisation to Indian requirements.
Four years after an agreement between two countries, India’s first batch of five Rafale fighter aircraft, that took off from France’s Istres airbase on July 27, will land in India on July 29. These jets will significantly boost the combat capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Hilal Ahmad Rather is presently India’s Air Attache in France.
The career details of this officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) reads like the decoration scroll of the best flying officer anywhere in the world.
Born in the Bakhsiabad area in 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. He has three sisters and is the only son of his parents. Hilal studied in Sainik School in Nagrota town of Jammu district.
He was commissioned in IAF as a fighter pilot on December 17, 1988, 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. Hilal is also the recipient of Vayu Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva medal.
Air Commodore Rather has served as a Directing Staff at DSSC as well. He has commanded a Mirage-2000 Squadron and also a front-line Air Force Base.
With an impeccable record of 3,000 accident-free flying hours on Mirage-2000, MIG-21 and Kiran aircraft, Rather’s name will now forever be associated with Rafale in India.
The locals of his native Bakhsiabad area in Anantnag town are happy about Rather’s achievements and are all praise for his feat.