Falcon 10X

Dassault Aims High and Long with Falcon 10X

A formidable competitor has just entered the ultra-long-range category.

Dassault has formally launched the Falcon 10X, a 7,500-nautical-mile competitor to the Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G700, adding the French airframer to the ranks of ultra-long-range business jet manufacturers. The 10X is expected to be certified and enter service in 2025.

“Today we are introducing a new benchmark in business aviation,” said Dassault chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. “The 10X will offer an unrivaled passenger experience over both short- and long-duration flights, along with breakthrough safety features derived from frontline fighter technology. We have optimized every aspect of the aircraft with the passenger in mind and established a new level of capability for ultra-long-range aircraft.”

Powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Pearl 10X turbofans, the 10X has a 2,780-cubic-foot cabin that sets it apart from competitors, boasting the largest cross-section of a purpose-built business jet with an interior width of nine feet one inch and height of six feet eight inches. By comparison, the G700 cabin measures eight feet two inches wide and six feet three inches tall; the Global 7500 is eight feet wide and six feet two inches high. The cabin volumes of all three jets are around 2,700 cubic feet. While the Global 7500’s published range is 200 nautical miles longer, all three have price tags of around $75 million (2021 dollars for the 10X).

Dassault is leveraging its experience manufacturing composite wings for the Rafale fighter jet, and the 10X’s highly swept wing will be made of carbon-fiber composite materials. The 10X will be Dassault’s first commercial airplane with composite wings, although the company did extensive flight testing of a Falcon 10 with a composite wing from 1985 to 2005.

A big change on the 10X is the T-tail configuration of the empennage, a switch away from the distinctive-looking cruciform and downward-canted horizontal stabilizers on earlier Falcons.

Also new for the 10X is an addition to the digital flight control system (DFCS), the single power-lever Smart Throttle that was tested extensively during a 7X flight-test campaign last year. Adding the Smart Throttle to the DFCS will enable the addition of Recovery Mode, a new feature for Falcon jets.

The Smart Throttle in the DFCS provides complete control of all aspects of fly-by-wire flight control and the Fadec-controlled engines, which makes Recovery Mode possible. What Recovery Mode does is return the 10X to stable flight after an upset in any configuration, when the pilot pushes the Recovery button on the instrument panel. This is a step up from envelope protection, which can help prevent overspeed or stall and other excursions, and it’s more comprehensive than the level buttons in some modern autopilots.

Incorporation of the Recovery Mode may also lead to the addition of an Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS), which can automatically recover the aircraft if its trajectory is headed toward a collision with the ground. The single power lever, Recovery Mode, and AGCAS are standard on Dassault's Rafale fighter.

The 10X’s DFCS has additional features, including a soft go-around and “comfort” climb and descent, designed to make passengers more comfortable during maneuvering. The Smart Throttle also helps facilitate improvements for reduced-thrust takeoffs and noise-abatement procedures. For example, variable friction allows virtual “notches” to be set to simplify power settings for specific conditions. Also built into the Smart Throttle are airbrake and thrust reverser controls. Separate controls allow the pilot to adjust each engine individually—for example, after a birdstrike makes it necessary to set the damaged engine for minimum vibration.

Pilots will be able to keep the autopilot and autothrottle engaged for maximum-performance maneuvers such as windshear escape and TCAS resolution. The autothrottle will be usable until touchdown.

Rolls-Royce Engines

The Pearl 10X represents the first time a Falcon will be powered by a Rolls-Royce engine. For the new jet, the Pearl 10X will produce more than 18,000 pounds of thrust while delivering 5 percent lower specific fuel consumption compared with earlier-generation engines.

The engine features a bladed-disk (blisk) fan design and a 10-stage compressor with six stages of blisks. An ultra-low-emissions combustor cuts noise and emissions, and a two-stage high-pressure turbine has a shroudless blade design. Testing will include running on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Spirit AeroSystems will build the laminar-flow nacelle system, which along with the 10X engine will be trialed on Rolls-Royce’s Boeing 747-400 flying testbed. Rolls-Royce will maintain a digital twin of the engine to track its performance, including capture of more than 9,000 parameters. Rolls-Royce’s engine health monitoring will provide advanced diagnostics and alerts, as well as two-way communication between the engine and support operations.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 115,000 pounds, the 10X will carry 51,700 pounds of fuel and have a payload of 6,500 pounds. At Mach 0.85, it will be able to achieve its 7,500-nautical-mile range. (All performance figures are preliminary.) The maximum operating speed will be Mach 0.925, but the 10X will still be able to take off at maximum weight with a balanced field length of less than 6,000 feet and perform steep approaches. Landing distance is projected to be less than 2,500 feet.

Cabin Features

With so much cabin space, the goal based on customer feedback was to give passengers the feel of a high-end penthouse. Dassault designers are working on various configurations with up to four lounges, including a full bathroom with shower, private cinema, and VIP master suite with an optional 60-inch queen-sized bed and its own bathroom.

The large kitchen has two windows, a chiller, oven, and microwave. A forward lavatory and crew rest area allow for crew privacy. In the dining section, an optional table with four individual seats allows passengers to exit without disturbing seatmates. Passenger seats will have an available full-recline option akin to first-class seating on airliners.

The four-club lounge area offers room for individual tables, with no worries about passengers interfering with each other, as well as ample storage space. Three options are available for the aft lavatory, including one with a stand-up shower.

The 10X will have a 3,000-foot cabin altitude at 41,000 feet and air filtered by ozone and VOC filters. Windows are 50 percent larger than those in the 8X, and there are 38 in the 10X’s long fuselage.