Pakistani pilots being exposed to the Rafale platform could be problematic for the Indian Air Force, which receives its first Rafale jets in September this year
All India | Written by Vishnu Som | Updated: April 11, 2019 10:24 IST
The request for a clarification (also sent to Dassault's corporate headquarters) comes after ainonline.com, an independent media firm which focusses on the aviation sector, reported that "the first batch of pilots trained for Qatar in November 2017 were Pakistani exchange officers." According to Jon Lake, the author of the piece, "Escadron de Chasse 04.030 was established at Mont-de-Marsan as the Qatar Rafale Squadron on Oct. 1, 2017."
Qatar took the delivery of its first Rafale at Dassault's Merignac facility on February 6. In a press statement, Dassault had said Qatar had signed up for 24 Rafale fighters in May 2015. In December 2017, it ordered an additional 12 fighters. The deal for the first 24 fighters is valued at euro 6.3 billion.
Pakistani military personnel have been deputed to operate with the armed forces of several Middle Eastern countries for decades. Pakistan has also received military hardware from partner nations including Jordan, which has supplied Islamabad with 13 additional F-16 A/B fighters, some of which may have been used by the Pakistan Air Force during its failed attack on Indian military targets along the Line of Control on February 27.
In January 2018, the Pakistani news portal http://www.thenews.com.pk reported the visit of the Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force to the Pakistan Air Force Headquarters in Islamabad. Pakistan's Air Chief reportedly "offered support and cooperation in the field of aviation and military training" to his counterpart.
"They would understand the various modes, the look up, look down, compatibility," says Anshuman Mainkar, a former Indian Air Force MiG-27 pilot with more than a decade of experience in flying combat aircraft. "They will know how the weapon system works, and how resistant it is to being jammed."