...And Pushes The 7X

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Meanwhile, Dassault Aviation says its forthcoming Falcon 7X model is the first aircraft in industry history to be entirely developed in a virtual environment, from design to manufacturing to maintenance. The jet's development is revolving around an automation suite that enables Dassault Aviation and its 27 partners in seven countries to work on a common platform. One result, according to the company, is that the time required to assemble its new Falcon 7X business jet has been cut in half. Each of the jet's 30,000 parts was designed in a virtual environment while a human modeling system enables analyzing and optimizing the jet's design for crucially important aircraft maintenance and repair procedures. One byproduct of this design method is that aircraft parts are a perfect fit the first time. Additionally, Dassault Aviation will also not produce a physical prototype of the Falcon 7X: The first jet, scheduled for delivery in March 2005, will immediately be used for certification.

"The virtual platform has fundamentally changed the way we view building airplanes," said Jacques Pellas, CIO, Dassault Aviation. "We are just at the beginning of a new industrial revolution." Since the company's first bizjet -- the Falcon 20 -- rolled out in 1963, over 1500 Falcon jets have been delivered to more than 65 countries. The family of Falcon jets includes four tri-jets—the Falcon 50EX, 900C, 900EX, and the new 7X—as well as the twin-engine Falcon 2000 and 2000EX.