Gulfstream Unveils New-Generation G400, G800 Jets
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA—Gulfstream is unveiling two new members of its business jet family: the large-cabin G400 and ultra-long-range G800.
Slotted between the super-midsize G280 and the larger G500/G600, the G400, powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW812GA turbofans, will fly to a maximum range of 4,200 nm at Mach 0.85 with eight passengers, three crew and NBAA instrument flight rules (IFR) fuel reserves. The base price of the new jet, slated to enter service in 2025, will be $34.5 million, plus options.
“We have been working on it for quite some time; we’ll start building the very first airplane at the beginning of next year,” Gulfstream Aerospace President Mark Burns says. “In business aviation in particular, it’s important that you keep your vision close to the vest. When we started working on G500 and 600 [before announcing them in 2014], it was actually a three-airplane program—we were working on G400, G500 and G600.”
The G800 will be a shorter but longer-legged sibling of the 7,500 nm-range G700 that will ultimately replace Gulfstream’s G650 large-cabin jet at the higher end of the product line. Also powered by new Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, the G800 will fly to a “theoretical” range of 8,000 nm at Mach 0.85 with eight passengers, four crew and NBAA IFR reserves. Scheduled to enter service in 2023, it is priced at $71.5 million, plus options.
“This will be the longest-range airplane we have ever built,” says Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice president of worldwide sales. Pointing to a map that showed New York within range of a flight departing Hong Kong at Mach 0.90, Neal adds: “This airplane really now gives you the capability to decide if you want to go left or right and get to the same place.”
Gulfstream describes the G400 as an entry-level large-cabin jet. It will come with some of the same attributes of the PW800-powered G500/G600 large-cabin jets introduced in 2018-19 as well as elements of the new G700, including Gulfstream’s Honeywell-based Symmetry flight deck with sidestick controllers and touch screen displays.
As with the Rolls Royce-powered G700, which is undergoing certification flight testing for planned entry into service next year, the G400 flight deck will be equipped with dual head-up displays capable of presenting combined synthetic and enhanced vision.
The G400 takes over from the 4,070-nm range G450, which Gulfstream stopped producing in 2017-18 to launch the G500. “That large-cabin, entry-level point has long been kind of abandoned by most of the marketplace,” Burns says. “We’ve looked at that for quite some time. We believed we could build an airplane to fit in that market.”
The new-generation jet “will take advantage of everything we have learned on the 500 and 600, to be able to apply it back to efficiently build this airplane,” Burns addd. “We think the price point is right. We think the performance is even a little better than maybe the market demands at that point. We set out to build a 4,000-mi. airplane—it’s a little better than we anticipated.”
The Symmetry flight deck and the embedded Data Concentration Network Gulfstream introduced on the G500/G600 will be common features across the G400-through-G800 generation of jets. Developed by GE Aviation from the core computing system on the Boeing 787, the Data Concentration Network hosts avionics and other systems using multiple communications protocols on an ARINC 664-standard Ethernet backbone. The network can be updated or reconfigured using software rather than installing new hardware and wiring.
Gulfstream Aerospace President Mark Burns talks with Aviation Week Executive Editor Lee Ann Shay about the OEM’s thought process behind designing a new aircraft family but only announcing the G400 and G800 on Oct. 4.
The “Data Concentration Network—the aircraft’s central nervous system—provides more data more quickly to the crew and allows for future growth without installing new wiring,” says Neal. “Now this airplane is configurable; you basically connect new equipment to the network.”
Another advancement on the new generation of jets will be cabin pressurization. The cabin altitude on the G400 at 41,000 ft. will feel like 3,255 ft. above sea level, Gulfstream says. The “feels like” cabin altitude on the G700/G800 will be 2,916 ft. at 41,000 ft., besting the 3,200 ft. advertised for the G650. Cabin air will not be recirculated; it will be 100% fresh.
Work is well underway on the G800, which will have a G650-size cabin that is 10 ft. shorter in length and with two fewer windows overall than the G700’s. The siblings will share the same high-speed wing and winglet design.
A first of three planned G800 test aircraft was going through ground engine runs. “As we announced G700 [in 2019], we were actually working on G700 and G800,” shares Burns. “This is very far along. We’re excited that it dovetails well with the G700. We are working in earnest [through] the final months of G700 certification, then will roll right into G800. In fact, many of the things can be done in parallel.”
Burns adds: “Suffice to say the vision was to create a new family of airplanes, to build off of the success of each airplane, to take that commonality to make our manufacturing more precise, give the customers a great deal of service capability with the commonality—things like common type ratings and those things that make the airplane even more affordable and more cost-effective for them.”