New Delhi [India], Apr 11 (ANI): France Ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler, on Thursday denied reports, which claimed that France is training Pakistani pilots on Rafale jets. Ziegler termed the reports as "fake news".
The ambassador was referring to a report published in ainonline.com, an independent media firm focussing on the aviation sector, which on February 13 reported that "The first batch of pilots trained for Qatar in November 2017 were Pakistani exchange officers."
Ziegler, however, refuted the reports and said, "I can confirm that it is fake news."
I can confirm that it is fake news. https://t.co/3XpPnfPqUc— Alexandre Ziegler (@FranceinIndia) April 11, 2019
According to Jon Lake, the author of the piece published in ainonline.com, "Under the SOUTEX program the Armee de l’Air is training 250 personnel who will man the first Qatari Rafale squadron. This unit will initially be commanded by a French officer until later this year when command will be transferred to a Qatari officer before the unit transfers to Qatar in the summer of 2020."
According to the website, Qatar signed a euro 6.3 billion agreement for the purchase of 24 Rafales (six of them two-seat trainers) in May 2015. A dozen more aircraft were added to the order in December 2017. Doha took delivery of its first Rafale on February 6.
Qatar’s Rafales differ in detail from those delivered to France and Egypt, and integration of the Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod and Elbit Systems TARGO-II helmet-mounted target designation system required extensive testing. (ANI)