NBAA: Dassault unveils new Falcon in a class of its own
French manufacturer Dassault has today unveiled its biggest and most advanced Falcon jet after years of secrecy over the design.
Codenamed the SMS, the Falcon 5X was revealed to media and customers at special events at the NBAA business aviation show in Las Vegas.
This new-generation business jet will feature new a flight control system, new aerodynamics and other advanced technologies, many pioneered in Dassault’s military programs.
“The Falcon 5X is the new benchmark for the creative use of advanced technology in business aviation,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “Using design and manufacturing software and systems pioneered by Dassault, we have been able to build a larger, more comfortable and more capable aircraft that is also more environmentally friendly and much more economical to operate compared to other airplanes in its class.”
The 5X is already being tagged as an industry breakthrough, with the specifications showing the largest cabin cross section of any purpose-built business jet and a fuel efficiency as much as 50 percent better than aircraft in similar target sectors
“The Falcon 5X represents our biggest investment since the beginning of the Falcon programs,” Trappier said. “It demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the technology leadership that we have displayed in this market since our first business jet flew fifty years ago.”
The new jet has a cabin height of six feet, six inches (1.98 m), an important consideration for passenger comfort on flights of 10 or 11 hours’ duration. The 16-passenger aircraft has a range of 5,200 nautical miles (9,630 km), connecting Los Angeles with London, Sao Paulo with Chicago, Johannesburg with Geneva or Paris with Beijing. Functionality and modern style blend in the cabin. The company conducted extensive research into new cabin technology and styling techniques that will greatly enhance passengers’ sense of spaciousness and comfort.
The new aircraft’s digital flight control system represents a major advance in making aircraft control more precise, easier and safer. The system integrates all moving control surfaces for the first time, including an additional control surface called a ‘flaperon’, that allows steep approaches at slow and safe speeds. It also integrates nose wheel steering for safer runway handling in strong crosswind conditions and on wet or slick runways. Dassault Aviation is a leader in digital flight control technology having pioneered it on fighters four decades ago and having introduced the first business jet with digital flight controls, the Falcon 7X, in 2007.
Honeywell will provide the 5X with a new generation of the Falcon series’ EASy all-digital cockpit, as well as its most advanced radar, capable of detecting turbulence at greater distances than current models.
The cockpit will feature the industry’s most advanced “head-up display” technology, provided by Elbit Systems. The new HUD will combine “enhanced vision” and “synthetic vision” for unsurpassed situational awareness, even in total darkness, fog or dense haze. Enhanced vision uses infrared sensors to display terrain in darkness and reduced visibility. Synthetic vision uses a global terrain database for the same purpose. In the 5X, they will be combined for the first time on the head-up display providing a high fidelity view of the outside world even when actual visibility is zero.
The aircraft will be powered by new-generation Silvercrest engines from Safran Snecma, the French-based engine maker and 50-percent partner with General Electric in CFM, which builds the world’s best selling jet engine, the CFM56.
“The Silvercrest engine is 15 percent more fuel efficient than other engines in its power class; Emissions are dramatically lower than current standards, and the engine is remarkably quiet,” said Trappier. “To be priced at about $45 million in 2013 dollars, the Falcon 5X is expected to make its first flight in the first quarter of 2015 and to achieve certification before the end of 2016.