Dassault Aviation marked the return to normalcy following the challenging 18 months that many companies have expressed at the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).
The company gave program updates on its 6X and 10X and announced an expansion of its service organization.
In May, Dassault announced the 10X—an ultralong-range jet positioned to compete with offerings from across the competitive landscape. The 10X promises to be the largest jet on the market by cabin cross section—a full 6 feet, 8 inches tall and 9 feet, 1-inch wide.
Dassault Aviation’s chairman and CEO Eric Trappier noted that the scale allows for a professional basketball player to stand up inside.
“The [10X] will feature a number of innovative technologies, including a few based on experience with our top line Rafale fighter: a Smart Throttle commanding both engines and linked directly to the digital flight control system,” Trappier said. “And an automatic recovery mode designed to restore the aircraft to level flight from an inadvertent upset.
“All these attributes have already convinced some customers to begin placing orders for the new aircraft.”
Trappier also noted that program development on the 10X is moving ahead.
“Detailed design will be completed by the end of this year and parts production will commence next year, with entry into service expected by the end of 2025.”
The 10X is projected to have a 7,500-nm range and maximum Mach number of 0.925.
The 6X Flies Ahead
Trappier also gave an update on the progress of the 6X program—the ultra-widebody jet that has been flying since March.
“Three aircraft are currently flying,” Trappier said. “A fourth unit fitted with a full interior will perform a world tour prior to certification to ensure systems are fully mature from day one. Entry into service is scheduled for late 2022.
“Our test pilots have given the 6X high marks for its excellent handling. In fact, they say it handles better than any previous Falcon—quite a compliment, considering the legendary flying qualities of Falcon aircraft,” Trappier said. “What I can tell you as an engineer is that the 6X is equipped with the most advanced version of our industry leading digital flight control system, and this helps explain why it handles so well.”
Chief test pilot Philippe Duchateau concurred.
“The flying qualities of the 6X are truly extraordinary, even by our exacting Dassault standards. We are extremely satisfied with the way the aircraft is performing during the test campaign.”
The engine program to certify the Pratt & Whitney PW812D powerplants proceeds on-course as well, with certification expected by the end of the year.
The 6X, which will be able to “routinely” use runways less than 4,000 ft long, is predicted to have a 5,500-nm range and a maximum Mach number of 0.90.
Service Center Growth
In September, Dassault moved its “customer command center” to a dedicated base at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport to take advantage of its proximity to the company’s engineering, manufacturing, and spares facilities.
“We are also working at reinforcing the company’s worldwide support network,” Trappier said, “first by using the capabilities of the ExecuJet and TAG Maintenance Services networks we purchased in 2019 to drive organic growth in our support business, then by deploying new enlarged facilities in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur and adding line stations in Europe.
“Our global maintenance footprint now includes more than 60 service centers, 40 of them Dassault owned.”