Progress continues apace on new Falcon

 - September 26, 2007, 10:11 AM

Dassault is inching closer to the launch of its new super-midsize business jet, the latest in its Falcon line. Charles Edelstenne, Dassault chairman and CEO, confirmed in Paris last month that the company would unveil development details of the super-midsize next year. Dassault has defined most of the characteristics of the eight- to 10-seat, long-range aircraft, and selection of the main partners is under way. The airplane is expected to enter service in 2013.

In July the airframer selected a Rolls-Royce engine to power the twinjet. Four other engine makers (Honeywell, GE, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Snecma) had competed for the contract. The 10,000-pound-thrust-class RB.282-31, the first of a new line of engines in the 6,000- to 20,000-pound-thrust class, will give the aircraft a higher cruise speed than the 6,000- to 7,000-pound-thrust engines in current super-midsize jets.

This is the first time that Dassault and Rolls-Royce, which powers one-third of the current business jet market, have partnered in the business aircraft sector. A Rolls-Royce spokesman said that the engine’s low-pressure, lean-burn combustors were a factor in Dassault’s choice. The RB.282-31 will run in 2009 and probably be certified in 2011.

The new Falcon super-midsize fills the niche between the Falcon 50 and the twin-engine Falcon 2000, but a Dassault spokesman said the new airplane will not replace the discontinued Falcon 50EX, 10 of which have been delivered in the last two years. No more are on order.

Dassault has orders for 173 copies of its Falcon 7X trijet, which received FAA and EASA certification in April. According to Edelstenne, this makes the 7X its “most successful launch ever in terms of dollar sales value.” He said orders continue to flow in, with this year “promising to be another strong year.” The next available 7X delivery position is in the first half of 2013.