Two New Dassault Falcons Take Shape
Dassault has completed the critical design review of its next business aircraft, the long-range, widebody Falcon 6X twinjet, and is closing in on the preliminary design of the advanced low-noise follow-on.
Confirming widely spread rumors, company chairman and CEO Éric Trappier says Dassault is working toward the preliminary design for the follow-on new Falcon, which is widely, but still unofficially, known as the 9X. “We are mobilizing significant resources for our next model, which we plan to unveil [later this] year.
“Development of the new aircraft will be accompanied by further advances in our transition toward a fully digital enterprise,” he said.
Although virtually no details of the concept have been revealed, the 9X is expected to be focused on a medium- to long-range design, with the wide cabin cross-section of the 6X and a configuration optimized to reduce noise and fuel burn.
Dassault’s participation in several ongoing European and French national research efforts is expected to yield technologies that could feature on the 9X. These potentially include an extended laminar flow wing; a fuel cell to replace or supplement the auxiliary power unit; and possibly even an unconventional, U-shape noise-shielding empennage.
Meanwhile, Dassault has entered the industrialization and manufacturing stages of the Falcon 6X, making parts. The first fuselage has been put together in Dassault’s Biarritz facility, and will shortly be moved to the company’s Bordeaux-Mérignac site for completion and mating with the wings, the first of which have been assembled in another facility in Martignas.
When last reviewed, in October 2019, testing of the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney PW812D engine was progressing on schedule, with six involved in the certification effort, including one in a standard United Technologies-developed nacelle on the engine maker’s Boeing 747SP flying testbed. The 13,000-lb.- to 14,000-lb.-thrust business aircraft engine is based on the smaller core of the PW1200G geared turbofan developed for the Mitsubishi MRJ/SpaceJet airliner and was selected for the new Falcon variant late in 2017.
Dassault’s switch to the 6X followed the axing of the shorter-fuselage Falcon 5X in the wake of delays to the Safran Silvercrest engine, which was originally earmarked for the now-canceled project.