New Delhi | Jagran News Desk:  The first batch of five Rafale combat jets is set to arrive at the Ambala air base here on Wednesday. The induction of these multi-role fighter aircraft will significantly increase the offensive capabilities of the Indian Air Force. One of the persons who has played a pivotal role in the acquisition of these fighter jets is Air Commodore Hilal Ahmad Rather. On July 27, Hilal who is also India's Air Attache to France, became the first pilot to see off the batch of Rafale jets from France to India.

The senior IAS officer not only ensured swift acquisition of jets but also helped the project management team add 13 fresh capabilities to the Indian version of the jet. The career details of the officer read like the decoration scroll of the best flying officer anywhere in the world.

1) Hailing from south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Hilal drew his inspiration from his father, late Mohammad Abdullah Rather, who was a deputy superintendent of police (Dy SP) in J&K police department.

2) Hilal studied in Sainik School in Nagrota town of Jammu district. 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.

3) He was commissioned in IAF as a fighter pilot on December 17, 1988. He was promoted as Flight lieutenant in 1993, Wing Commander in 2004, Group Captain in 2010 and Air Commodore in 2016.

4) He is a Fighter Combat Leader and a qualified Flying Instructor.

5) 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.

6) The 52-year-old has an impeccable service record of 3,000 accident-free flying hours on mirage-2000, MIG-21 and Kiran aircraft.

7) Hilal was awarded Vayu Sena medal as a Wing Commander in 2010 and the Vishisht Seva Medal when he was a group captain in 2016. The officer was also awarded Sword of Honour at the National Defence Academy for his unparalleled devotion to duty.

(with IANS inputs)

Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha