Dassault Aviation received net orders for 36 Falcons last year, CEO Charles Edelstenne said in March during the company’s annual presentation in Paris, noting a major improvement over 2010, when cancellations took the net total to minus nine. The 2011 orders represented a value of €1.93 billion ($2.5 billion), and the Falcon backlog now stands at €4.2 billion ($5.5 billion).
Global regions performed differently. North Europe and Russia started picking up, while North America, South Europe and the Middle East have not experienced an upturn yet, Edelstenne said. Latin America and China “worked well” in 2011. China, albeit dynamic, is still a relatively small market. There are 16 Falcons flying there and another 12 are to be delivered this year in the country.
For the global market to recover, the U.S.–the single largest market–has to rebound, according to Dassault officials. Edelstenne is hoping the advancing age of the U.S. business jet fleet will spur demand for replacement aircraft.
Last year the company delivered 63 Falcons, a couple shy of its delivery target of 65. Falcon revenues totaled €2.42 billion ($3.1 billion) last year. This year, the company expects to deliver 65 Falcons.
SMS Development in ‘Full Swing’
Development of the still-under-wraps Falcon super-midsize (SMS) is “in full swing,” he said, with the first parts–structural components–expected to be manufactured by the end of the year. Dassault has selected all partners on the project–engines, avionics and so on–but not revealed their identities.
The aircraft’s shape has been frozen and detailed design–of not only the physical details but also customer support–is under way. As for the size of the aircraft, the SMS will be “somewhere in the zone” of the Falcon 2000, Edelstenne said.
As engineers are using the Catia v6 software suite, the SMS will be the first aircraft designed “in four dimensions,” said Olivier Villa, senior v-p for Falcons. In addition to allowing a virtual “walk through” of the aircraft, Catia v6 also enables the designers to see systems (hydraulics, for example) “live” on their computer displays.
The SMS is slated to fly in 2014. Dassault intends to launch the marketing and sales effort next year. The first delivery is scheduled for 2016. Edelstenne emphasized his company is not receiving any public financial support for the SMS.
In other developments, Dassault has started working on the EASy III flight deck, as well as a “new-generation” head-up display (HUD) and enhanced flight vision system (EFVS).