Rolls-Royce to power Dassault’s new jet

 - July 2, 2007, 9:23 AM

Dassault Aviation and Rolls-Royce are teaming in a partnership that stands to boost Rolls-Royce’s 34-percent market share in the business jet sector.

Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne announced last month that Dassault has selected the in-development Rolls-Royce 10,000-pound-thrust-class RB.282-31 engine to power its new super-midsize business jet.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said the decision was made “largely” based on the results of a number of tests completed on the engine, including tests on a compressor and fan, a single-stage high-pressure turbine and low-emission, lean-burn combustors. According to Ian Aitken, Rolls-Royce’s corporate and regional aircraft president, features of the new engine include a forward-swept fan taken from the bigger three-shaft Trent and an extremely advanced core based around components that have already been tested. The engine will be run in 2009 and certified “probably in 2011.” He added that the Dassault aircraft is only the first in a series of potential applications. “We’re working on a family of engines producing between 6,000 and 20,000 pounds thrust,” he said.

Dassault says it selected the Rolls engine “following a thorough analysis and study including five engine makers.” Honeywell, Snecma, GE and Pratt & Whitney Canada competed with Rolls-Royce for the contract. “Rolls-Royce has demonstrated its capability to provide an all-new engine in the 10,000-pound-thrust range that will meet our exacting requirements in terms of reliability, performance and fuel efficiency with minimum environmental impact,” Edelstenne said.

A Dassault spokesman said the company would not elaborate on details of the new jet because it is “not ready to define the size category yet.” He did add, however, that the company is targeting a high cruise speed at altitude for the future Falcon, which would require more shove than the 6,000- to 7,000-pound-thrust engines used in current super-midsize jets. However, the aircraft is known to be sized between the Falcon 50 and Falcon 2000 and to be outfitted with two of the 10,000-pound-thrust engines to provide strong performance to the top of climb. The timeline for the development of the jet is also under wraps, a spokesman saying only that it is in the predevelopment phase. Insiders believe the new airplane will enter service in 2013.

This partnership is not the first for Dassault Aviation and Rolls-Royce, which provided engines for the Sepecat (BAC/ Breguet) Jaguar and Breguet Atlantique European military aircraft. “This [new] agreement marks a historic step in the development of our corporate aircraft engine business and further establishes Rolls-Royce as the leading supplier of engines and services to the corporate jet and regional airline markets,” said Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce. “We are delighted to partner with Dassault…and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”