• Dassault's Falcon 2000LXS with the 8X in the background. (Steve Hitchen)
    Dassault's Falcon 2000LXS with the 8X in the background. (Steve Hitchen)

French business jet manufacturer Dassault says it has the aircraft range to meet the demands of almost every Australia operator regardless of the mission.

Speaking to Australian Flying at Avalon this week, Dassault Senior Vice President Carlos Brana and Asia Pacific President Jean-Michel Jacob said the jet range from the tri-engined 8X long-range to the medium range 2000LXS and 2000S provided solutions for both intercontinental and intracontinental flights.

Dassault brought one 8X and one 2000LXS to the Australian International Airshow this week to reiterate the point to local customers.

"One aircraft is the longest range aircraft that we are manufacturing, the 8X, which is an intercontinental aeroplane, and the 2000LXS, which is an intracontinental aeroplane," said Brana. "The 2000 is designed to be used within a continent like Australia, and the 8X is for when you want to leave the continent and go to another continent."

"The 2000LXS is able to fly from south-east Australia to the rest of the country non-stop, and one aircraft that is able to fly Sydney-Singapore non-stop, which is a very specific category of aircraft," Jacob added.

"The 2000 is very well adapted to fly regionally. It is a very nice aircraft for half of the price of a 8X and you still have a big cabin that will carry up to 8-12 people. It is comfortable and flexible. It can get to most airfields in the region. It is much lighter than the 8X and much lighter than the competition.

"It is an aircraft that has a lot of possibilities from purely civilian transportation to government multi mission activity. It is a perfect aircraft for many different reasons, at very low cost of operation.

"Australia is a beautiful country for us because people may buy longer range aircraft, but it makes no sense, because you still have to make one stop to get to New York or London. There is so much water between Australia and the rest of the world."

Focusing on the 8X, Brana said the aircraft had many advantages over the long-range business jets offered by Dassault's competition

"The 8X is a three-engined aeroplane," he pointed out. "The three engines gives you greater flexibility if you want to land on short runways. And if you are stuck in a particular airport because one engine fails, you can always take-off with no passengers on two engines. If you are military and you have something that is sensitive inside the aeroplane, you don’t want to be stuck."

The third engine, mounted in the tail, also eliminates the need for the 8X to fly under extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) rules, which restrict twin-engine aircraft flying over water to remain within a certain distance of land based on the aircraft's one-engine inoperative (OEI) performance. This provides the 8X with the chance to straighten track over water, saving time and money for the operators.

"There is the elasticity of the wings, which means that when you hit turbulence, the aeroplane is not as stiff as some other aeroplanes, but it is still sturdy," Brana continued. "In this aeroplane you don’t have to throttle back to go through turbulence; you can stay at the same speed."

The 8X and 2000LXS bookend the Falcon jet range, which also includes the 7X, 900LX and 2000s. The company is also developing the 6X, which is generating a lot of interest both in Australia and overseas, with a range of 5500 nm with eight passengers, three crew and IFR reserves on board, Dassault believes it fills a hole in the market place.

The 6X is due to make it's first flight in 2021 and Dassault is confident it will enter service in 2022.

"So far, so good," Brana said. "We are on time and currently manufacturing the first parts for the prototypes. The test are ongoing on the engines, and there have been no surprises. It is going well."

Dassault has also expanded its range in recent months with the acquisition of the maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities of Asia Pacific company ExecuJet and the European company TAG Aviation.

"The fact that we have acquired an MRO is to be closer to our customer so we can better understand their needs, and improve their experience" Brana explained.

"For many customers, when they buy an aeroplane, they are concerned about how this aeroplane is going to be supported. By making this move we have expressed to the customers that we want to be close to them and to give them a great experience."

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