In the Works: Dassault SMS

 - January 29, 2011, 10:30 AM

Although few details are available about Dassault’s super-midsize SMS Falcon, the company is aiming for certification in 2016, according to Olivier Villa, senior vice president for civil aircraft. When the twin-engine SMS was launched in January 2008 it was slated to be powered by the Rolls-Royce RB282. That decision was reversed last year and now the Silvercrest engine being developed by France’s Snecma group is a likely frontrunner.

Although the program is ramping up to full-speed development, Villa remained coy about SMS details and industry partners. In late November, Canada’s Héroux-Devtek announced that it signed a contract to “design, develop, fabricate, assemble, qualify and participate in the certification of the landing gear and actuation system for the new aircraft,” which presumably is the SMS. Villa said Dassault will likely not release much further information about the project for two to three years.

To date, wind-tunnel tests have been completed for the basic shape and the outer mold line is fixed. The company has some 250 employees working on the SMS at its design office in the Paris area, a number that is expected to double between early this year as designers from Dassault’s partners join the team. By the end of the year, the joint team will establish the basic design, after which the constituent groups will return to their own design offices to complete detailed work.