Major technical issues identified during engine tests cause Falcon 5X cancellation

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Dassault Aviation has canceled its contract with aero-engine maker Safran for the Silvercrest engine and halted development of its Falcon 5X business jet after issues revealed during tests caused further delays to the engine’s delivery.

The delivery of compliant Silvercrest engines was originally planned for the end of 2013 in accordance with the Falcon 5X flight test schedule. However, “recurrent” and “major” technical issues during the engine’s development initially led to the delivery date for engines slipping to the end of 2017.

Dassault Aviation said the subsequent three-year delay for the entry into service of the Falcon 5X (a large, long-range business jet) has caused customers to cancel orders.

A preliminary version of the Silvercrest turbofan engine was delivered in 2012, not compliant with the specifications and used in a flight test campaign. However, development of the engine has been dogged with problems, including heat exchanger problems and problems with airflow through the core of the engine.

In October 2017 Safran reported further issues with the Silvercrest’s high pressure compressor, causing further delay and a performance shortfall. These additional problems have made the 2020 entry into service of the aircraft impossible.

Dassault Aviation has therefore canceled the 5X and announced the launch of a new Falcon program with an entry into service in 2022.

Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, said, “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, featuring the same cross section as the Falcon 5X, a range of 5,500 nautical miles, and scheduled to enter into service in 2022.”

In a statement Safran said that tests of the engine that ended during the summer caused a delay of the Silvercrest engine’s certification schedule that would enable achieving the performances requirement in the full flight domain.

November 20, 2017

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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