NEW DELHI: In a recent News, it is reveal that India-based executives of Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of the Rafale fighter jet being procured by India in a euro 7.8 billion deal, have told that they are not aware of Pakistani exchange pilots having been trained in France to fly the Rafales of the Qatar Air Force, the first of which was handed over in February.
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."
To be noted that 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.
However, it is to be noted that 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 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.