Kashmir’s Hilal Ahmad Rather becomes first IAF pilot to fly Rafael jet

Hilal Ahmad Rather

Hilal Ahmad Rather. (Photo: IANS)

The first batch of Rafael jets is set to be inducted in the Indian Air Force on Wednesday and Air commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather became the first to fly the giant aircraft.

Among other things, he has also been associated with the weaponisation of the Rafale aircraft for acclimatisation to Indian requirements.

Hilal Ahmad Rather is presently India’s Air Attache in France.


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 studied in Sainik School in Nagrota town of Jammu district. He was commissioned in IAF 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 sword of honour in NDA.

Hilal is the recipient of Vayu Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva medal.

With an impeccable record of 3,000 accident-free flying hours on mirage-2000, MIG-21 and Kiran aircraft, Hilal’s name will now forever be associated with Rafale in India.

(With inputs from IANS)