New Flagship for Dassault

Dasault's under-development FNX will be the biggest, baddest and most advanced Falcon yet.

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Compared with that of the Falcon 900EX, the composite and metal wing of the FNX will be longer, thinner and more highly swept.

Dassault's latest Falcon Jet, code named FNX, will be the fastest, roomiest and most modern the company has ever produced. First flight for the French jet is scheduled for 2004.

The FNX is the third ultra-long-range business jet to arrive on the scene. It will compete against the Gulfstream V (and its planned successor, the G-V-SP) and the Bombardier Global Express, both of which are in production.

While the G-V and Global are very similar airplanes, the FNX will offer its well-heeled customers an entirely different set of choices. The FNX, with a range of around 5,700 nm, won't have the legs of either North American jet; it won't be able to fly nonstop from Tokyo to New York. But it will be able to link together Paris and major U.S. West Coast cities; Paris and Tokyo; New York and all of Europe, as well as the Middle East and South America; and San Francisco and Moscow, for instance.

Unlike the jets from Bombardier and Gulfstream, the Falcon FNX will have the benefit of a third, tail-mounted engine, for added redundancy, freedom from potential oceanic twin-engine flight restrictions and improved short-field capabilities (better even than Dassault's own 900EX). Dassault hasn't yet selected an engine for the FNX, but it's considering the Honeywell AS 905 and the Pratt & Whitney PW 306, with a targeted total thrust of more than 18,000 pounds and TBOs of greater than 7,000 hours.

The FNX will be the fastest Falcon, with a projected MMO of Mach .90, which Dassault says will allow for regular day-to-day operations at Mach .85 or higher. The structure behind the speed is an all new composite and metal wing, which is longer and thinner, utilizing greater sweep and a higher aspect ratio. Despite this, the FNX will have an even lower VREF approach speed than the 900EX.

Other features include fly-by-wire flight control, a first for a Falcon, or any business jet, though Dassault has been building fly-by-wire fighter jets for 30 years. Dassault also will equip the Falcon FNX with the new Honeywell "Intuitive" flight deck that features a quartet of 14.1-inch displays and an intuitive graphical interface for reduced pilot workload and enhanced safety.

Dassault has not yet announced a firm price for the FNX, but it expects the jet to cost about 12 percent more than the $30 million 900EX, referenced to 2006 dollars, the year during which certification is anticipated.