Of all of the major business jet manufacturers, France’s Dassault Aviation may enjoy a unique advantage that seems to be rarely mentioned: it also produces one of the most technologically advanced multirole fighters in the world, the Rafale. In fact, the wings for all Dassault aircraft—civil and military—are made at the same factory near Bordeaux, including those for the Falcon 8X, the company’s newest business jet.
Dassault claims its know-how in developing fighters enables its engineers to design and build business jets that combine exceptional reliability, flight-handing and technical capabilities with unmatched cabin comfort and operating economics. Major competitors, such as Bombardier and Gulfstream, would likely argue that their French rival has nothing over them when it comes to designing and building purpose-built business jets that meet customers’ most demanding expectations for cabin comfort and operating economics.
This much is certain: current-generation fighters are being built to higher tolerances to ensure precision of shape, and thus optimum performance and durability in service. No less attention is being given to the assembly of the all-important wings for the 8X and the 5X, another business jet that Dassault is developing. It is the company’s way of making sure that its business aircraft match designers’ exacting specifications, just as the Rafale does. The tri-engine 8X is actually a derivative of the fast-selling, in-service Falcon 7X, with a cabin that is 3.5 ft. longer. While the wings look identical to those of the 7X, except for a new winglet, they are 1,320 lb. lighter.