Dassault Cancels 5X Program


Faced with continuing delays in the development of the new Silvercrest jet engine from Safran, Dassault Aviation said on Wednesday the Falcon 5X program is cancelled. It will be replaced by a new Falcon jet with the same cross section, powered by engines from Pratt & Whitney Canada, with first deliveries in 2022. “There is still a strong market need for a brand-new long-range aircraft with a very large cabin,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation. Deliveries of the 5X had already been delayed from 2017 to 2020, because of the engine issues, “causing customer concerns and order cancellations (12 in 2016),” the company said. The engines were originally scheduled to be delivered in 2013. “Considering the magnitude of the risks involved both on the technical and schedule aspects of the Silvercrest program, Dassault Aviation initiates the termination process of the Silvercrest contract leading to the end of the Falcon 5X program and plans to start negotiations with Safran,” the company said.

Safran faced “recurrent technical issues,” according to Dassault, and in 2015 and 2016, those issues led Safran to announce a new schedule, with engines expected to be delivered in time for the Falcon 5X flight tests this year. But the engines weren’t ready, and Dassault flew the jet in July with a preliminary version of the engine, not compliant with the specifications, and started a preliminary flight-test campaign, limited by the engines’ capacity. “The Falcon 5X flight behavior met all the expectations,” the company said. Several months ago, Safran experienced issues with the high-pressure compressor and told Dassault of an “additional delay and new performance shortfall, making the 2020 entry into service of the aircraft impossible,” Dassault says. The Silvercrest engine also is Textron’s choice for the Citation Hemisphere, but that airplane is not scheduled to fly for the first time until 2019.