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Six appeal

Posted 11 June 2018 · Add Comment

Dassault Aviation unveiled the Falcon 6X at Paris-Le Bourget in February. The first flight is due in early 2021 and deliveries will start in 2022. The group shows much optimism, especially in the business aviation sector. Anuradha Deenapanray reports.

Dassault Aviation organised two major events in February and March with the launch of its Falcon 6X and the presentation of its financial report for 2017, which chairman and CEO, Eric Trappier, described as “eventful”.
Beyond the delivery numbers, forecasts show an improving business aviation market with a reset year. This trend is instilling optimism in the industry.
Dassault Aviation wants to be ready to benefit from the recovery, which will gain momentum by 2019.
There are positive signs, like the recovery of the pre-owned aircraft market, but at low prices, in a very competitive market environment.
Underpinning this optimism is the strengthening of the US economy, the largest business aviation market, and in Europe and emerging markets.
Africa and the Middle East are markets with considerable prospects for the company. Trappier said: “We sell a lot of business jets in Africa in all segments. The Falcon 900 has a very good market within the continent. The 7X is suitable to go to Europe and the 8X to the US.”
He added that businessmen in the Middle East travel in larger groups, which necessitates bigger aircraft. “A new generation of entrepreneur is burgeoning, willing to travel efficiently and rapidly, and to land in less crowded airports.”
Last year was marked by the termination process of the Silvercrest contract, which led to the end of the Falcon 5X programme. Trappier explained that the group had to react positively with a smarter programme as Safran Aircraft Engines encountered new problems with the high-pressure compressor. “They announced that they were unable to meet the commitment they took in 2016, even though the engine was already four years behind contract schedule.”
He said, there was an urgent need to reassure clients after 15 Falcon 5X orders were cancelled in 2016 (12) and in 2017 (3) and “given the remaining need of customers for an aircraft of this category”.
Dassault Aviation, therefore, launched the Falcon 6X, featuring the same cross-section, with a range of 5,500nm and powered by Pratt & Whitney PW812 engines.
According to Dassault, this versatile twinjet is the best, quietest, most spacious and most comfortable in its segment on the market. It is equipped with the industry’s most advanced digital control and cockpit technologies, inherited from recent Falcon models and fighter jet programmes.
The 6X will be the first business jet to use a flaperon, which considerably improves control during approach, especially on steep descents.
“We wanted to push the boundaries with this new aircraft, to provide the best flight experience possible using today’s aviation know-how,” said Trappier. “The Falcon 6X will offer a mix of range, comfort and capability that no other large-cabin business jet can match, while guaranteeing fully mature systems and a proven powerplant.”
The 6X will be delivered with a full package of equipment, including the FalconSphere 11 electronic flight bag and the revolutionary FalconEye combined vision system for enhanced and synthetic vision capabilities.
Trappier underlined that no more flight-testing is required for the 6X on which the company is “betting a lot”.
“With the new Falcon 6X, our PurePower PW800 engine once again demonstrates its leadership in the long-range business jet category,” said Irene Makris, vice-president, marketing, Pratt & Whitney Canada.
She added that the PW812D offers “the highest level of technology available, paired with the reliability provided by an award-winning platform”.
The turbofan engine incorporates the latest generation technologies.
Dassault has invested around €1 billion ($1.24bn) in the 5X programme. According to CEO Trappier, the new programme will fit in this budget.
He also announced that discussions on “compensation” are on-going with Safran.
Discussing the military sector, Trappier said: “We are going to increase our capacity regarding the Rafale. We are going to deliver two-and-a-half aircraft. There are prospects in the UAE.
He also highlighted the agreement signed with Qatar to exercise the option for 12 additional Rafales and on a future cooperation (option for another 36 Rafale). “We have stared with Egypt and Qatar. We have a relationship based on trust,” he said.
In 2018, the group will deliver 40 Falcon and 12 Rafale (nine for export and three in France).
This year will also see various strategic challenges and projects for Dassault Aviation.
The new French Military Procurement Law 2019-2025, presented earlier this year, gives a better outlook to the company until 2030.
Combat drones will also be a priority with the nEURON development and a new flight-test campaign, as well as the MALE RPAS reconnaissance drone in cooperation with Airbus Defence & Space and Leonardo to equip four European countries.
While North America remains its priority market, Dassault Aviation is targeting new markets in Asia. As Trappier underlined, the “Make in India” industrial line is “essential” and the “entire company is mobilised to make it a success”.
After India, the group hopes to have an installation in Malaysia. “The Malaysian Army appreciates the Rafale for its quality. A technology programme will be presented to the authorities after the elections,” said Trappier.
With the mature 8X responding well in the region, Dassault Aviation is determined to capture other emerging markets worldwide with the additional support of the 6X.
 

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