Dassault cancels the Falcon 5X


Dassault has formally begun the process of cancelling its new Falcon 5X business jet, due to ongoing issues with its Safran engines.

The Silvercrest engines that were due to power the aircraft suffered multiple delays, pushing back the first Falcon 5X delivery by at least three years.

In a statement on its website Dassault says: “Considering the magnitude of the risks involved both on the technical and schedule aspects of the Silvercrest programme, Dassault Aviation initiates the termination process of the Silvercrest contract leading to the end of the Falcon 5X programme and plans to start negotiations with Safran.

“In the fall of 2017, Safran experienced issues with the high pressure compressor and informed Dassault Aviation of an additional delay and new performance shortfall, making the 2020 entry into service of the aircraft impossible.”

Safran says on its website that, following the end of engine testing in the third quarter, it contacted Dassault about a further delay, to allow the engine to meet its full performance specifications.

It adds: “Dassault Aviation notified Safran Aircraft Engine on December 13, 2017, that Dassault Aviation does not share Safran Aircraft Engine’s view of the status of the programme. This may lead to termination of the contract pursuant to its terms.”

Dassault says it will now work on a new Falcon model based on the 5X cross section. The new aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, and is due to enter service in 2022.

“There is still a strong market need for a brand new long-range aircraft with a very large cabin so I have decided to launch a new Falcon project powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, featuring the same cross section as the Falcon 5X and a range of 5,500 Nm, and scheduled to enter into service in 2022,” said Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

The Falcon 5X was launched with much fanfare during the 2013 NBAA. A twin engine business jet with a maximum range of 5,200nm, the Falcon 5X had one of the largest fuselage cross sections in its segment.

It would also be the first time Silvercrest engines were used on a private jet. Although Silvercrests had originally been chosen to power the Citation Longitude, a redesign of the aircraft swapped them out for Honeywell HTF7000s.

“With the Falcon 5X, Dassault has expanded the limits of what is possible in a business jet,” said Trappier at the time of the launch.

The original programme milestones called for the Falcon 5X to fly for the first time before the end of the first quarter of 2015.

The first aircraft was rolled out of the Bordeaux factory in June 2015, but several months later Dassault halted production of further aircraft due to ongoing issues with the Silvercrest engines.

This caused the first flight, and entry into service, to be delayed two years. Two further delays were announced, with the latest coming during the 2017 NBAA.

Meanwhile, the prototype aircraft flew for the first time in July 2017 with preliminary versions of the Silvercrest engines.

Dassault said in its 2016 annual report that orders for 12 Falcon 5Xs were cancelled.