Dassault pulls plug on Falcon 5X in favour of new project

French manufacturer Dassault announced the cancellation of its ill-fated Falcon 5X ultra-wide business jet programme on 13 December. The move followed repeated delays in the development of the Silvercrest engine by its compatriot Safran. It will however be replaced by a new Falcon model, which will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800.

The delivery of the 12,000lb-thrust class Silvercrest engines was originally planned for the end of 2013 to fit in with the 5X flight test schedule. But Safran has faced recurrent technical issues during the programme’s development, forcing Dassault to delay entry into service from its target date of 2017 to 2020. This led to a number of 5X order cancellations, including 12 in 2016.

Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said the continued issues with the engines made the 2020 service entry date impossible to achieve. “Considering the magnitude of the risks involved both on the technical and schedule aspects of the Silvercrest programme, Dassault has initiated the termination process of the Silvercrest contract, leading to the end of the Falcon 5X programme and plans to start negotiations with Safran,” he said in a statement.

“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.” The as yet unnamed aircraft is due for certification and service entry in 2022. It will share the same cabin cross-section as the 5X and is expected to boast a range of 10,186km (5,500nm).

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