NBAA Convention News

New Falcon moves closer to launch

 - September 21, 2007, 6:35 AM

Dassault Aviation is progressing with its plans for a super midsize Falcon scheduled for an official launch at the end of the year. The French manufacturer has selected a 10,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce engine for the airplane, which is projected to enter service in 2013. The cooperation between Dassault and Rolls-Royce is their first in business aviation. Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne told NBAA Convention News, “The new combination of Dassault and Rolls-Royce will be a winning formula in the rapidly growing business jet market.”

He said the Rolls-Royce engine was chosen from five competing options, but declined to go into specifics about how the final selection was made. The competing engines included Honeywell’s HTF10000, a new-design Pratt & Whitney Canada engine and Silvercrest, Snecma’s first engine for a business jet. A Rolls-Royce spokeswoman said the powerplant for the Falcon would be the first of a new family of engines designed to “meet the most stringent performance, reliability and environmental requirements of the corporate and regional engine marketplace.” According to Rolls-Royce, the company is the world’s leading business aircraft engine supplier, with a 34-percent market share. Rolls-Royce engines power “more than 3,000 corporate aircraft worldwide,” mostly Gulfstreams, the engine maker said.

Edelstenne confirmed that Dassault engineers are working on the development of the new eight- to 10-seat, long-range super-midsize business jet and that nearly all of the aircraft’s characteristics have been defined. Code-named SMS, the jet is expected to be derived from the Falcon 2000EX and carry a $15 million to $25 million price tag. Dassault would not confirm that the SMS would replace the Falcon 50EX, but it has hinted in the past that this will be the case. The company delivered only 10 copies of the 50EX–which is no longer in production–in the last two years.