Dassault unveiled its latest Falcon business jet today here in Geneva on the eve of the EBACE show. The new Falcon 2000S is very much aligned with the tough economic times, being a lower cost derivative of the Falcon 2000 that replaces the slow-selling Falcon DX, and may even compete with competitors’ smaller super-midsize jets.
The Falcon 2000S, priced below $25 million, retains the Falcon 2000LX’s cabin size, but its range has been cut to 3,350 nm (though still 100 nm more than the DX). Takeoff and landing performance is improved thanks to wing modifications.
The first 2000S made its first flight on February 17 this year and certification is pegged for the fourth quarter of next year. The first delivery is planned for the first quarter of 2013.
Dassault’s justification for the 2000S is to have an attractive offering at the low end of the Falcon range. The DX was not fulfilling this role. The price difference between the Falcon 2000DX and 2000LX was “less than 10 percent,” a company source told AIN. The 4,000-nm-range 2000LX, which has been for a few months the entry-level Falcon, has a $32.1 million price tag.
To make a significantly less expensive product, Dassault first reduced the range. This made the 2000S’s fuel system more straightforward. In addition, the cabin can no longer be fully customized. A fixed floorplan for 10 passenger seats still accommodates several “harmonies” of colors and design. Manufacturing the cabin interior in a more standardized way greatly cuts production costs, Dassault said.
But the Falcon 2000S is not just a simplified DX. Inboard slats have been added to the wing. These help reduce the approach speed by 10 knots, to 108 knots. In addition, the autobrake function is standard. Combined, these improvements enable reductions in takeoff distance, to 4,450 feet (at the 41,000-pound mtow), and landing distance, to 2,600 feet (at typical landing weight). The 2000S keeps the winglets introduced on the LX for fuel efficiency. In climb, it takes 19 minutes to reach 41,000 feet at mtow.
The engines are improved, too. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C has a new Talon II combustor that cuts nitrous oxide emissions by 20 percent. This means they are now 40 percent below CAEP6 standards. Overall, Dassault claims the 2000S has the “greenest footprint in the super-midsize category.”
Compared to super-midsize business jets, such as the Challenger 300, Gulfstream 250 and Hawker 4000, Dassault admits the Falcon 2000S is more expensive. However, the company touts its lower fuel consumption, which reduces direct operating costs.
BMW DesignworksUSA co-authored the design of the cabin. Rockwell Collins is supplying its FCMS2 cabin management system, which has high-resolution displays, among other in-flight entertainment features. Communications use Aircell’s Axxes II Iridium satcom system.
In terms of aesthetics, Dassault engineers also remembered the pilots. The EASy II avionics suite is integrated in a more modern way, Dassault says, with “more fluid” lines. Colors and materials have been updated, too.
So is the Falcon 2000S similar to the original Falcon 2000, announced in 1989? The short answer is no–it is not just “back to basics.” The Falcon 2000S has better range and airfield performance, as well as a lower fuel burn. Its EASy II flight deck is more modern. Its only shortcoming seems to be that the cabin interior cannot be really customized.
Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne said the 2000S is “not an interim aircraft,” while the codenamed SMS is still in the design phase. It is “a definite answer” in the $20 to $25 million segment, he said. The SMS twinjet, the size category of which is still unknown, is slated to enter into service in 2016.