Operating in an unpredictable environment in which taking a very long-term view is key, our fundamentals are solid. Our strength lies in a unique development model and very loyal customers. Our long-term viability is the result of our ability to imagine the future and to adapt to a constant stream of new challenges.
Governance and family values
Dassault Aviation is the only aerospace group in the world that is still owned by the family of its founder, Marcel Dassault. This unwavering backing from our main shareholder ensures the stability of our management team: Éric Trappier is only the fifth Chairman and CEO in a century. This ability to take a long-term view is a major asset in aviation, an industry with extremely long cycles: an aircraft may well stay in production for as long as 25 years and remain in service for more than 40 years.
Our stability allows us to uphold the values that have driven Dassault Aviation’s success: technical excellence and innovation; a passion for aeronautics; quick strategic decisions; adaptability in the face of change; the determination to meet objectives; efficient management and competitiveness; and a human resources policy designed to attract top talent and ensure their loyalty.
We take a unique approach to sharing profits based on fair distribution, in particular a profit-sharing agreement that goes well beyond legal requirements. Hence, thanks to profit sharing and incentive plans relating to the 2020 fiscal year, employees will benefit to the tune of 85 million euros (including the specific correlated social tax). 103 million euros in dividends were proposed to our shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in May 2021. In 2020, in light of the exceptional circumstances, shareholders waived their profit-related dividends for 2019, while profit-sharing and incentive payments were maintained.
Dual expertise: civil and military
Our dual civil-military expertise means that we can count on two different markets with different business cycles, reducing our exposure to fluctuating economic conditions. We design and produce both military and business aircraft in the same design departments and factories. The state-of-the-art technologies developed for defense also benefit our civil aviation business, which in turn generates innovations in terms of production and certification.
A pivotal player
As an industrial architect and systems integrator, Dassault Aviation brings together major suppliers in the aviation industry. We take a pragmatic approach to coordinating partnerships and alliances, whether in Europe or in a broader international framework, through developments in the United States and India, for instance. This approach favors long-term relationships, based on complementary skills, quality and performance.
Dassault Aviation naturally plays a pivotal role in future combat systems, by teaming up on various programs in conjunction with European partners: the New Generation Fighter via FCAS, Eurodrone, nEUROn, as well as in the space sector.
Active CSR policy
Since 2003, when we joined the United Nations Global Compact, Dassault Aviation has been actively engaged in a policy of corporate social responsibility (CSR) with respect to its employees, the environment and its suppliers. Through our actions, we are contributing to 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in 2015.
As an industrial architect and systems integrator, you have to know how to develop and apply state-of-the-art technologies. Dassault Aviation offers this rare skill, making it a pivotal player in ensuring the strategic autonomy of France and Europe, in terms of both civil and military applications.
Our focus on innovation is reflected by major research contracts and substantial self-financed investments. We are working on the ongoing development of the Rafale (F4 and export standards), as well as on the development of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the Falcon 10X and 6X, the Falcon 8X Archange, the Falcon 2000 Albatros, in addition to the Eurodrone and nEUROn UCAVs.
Integrating technological breakthroughs
In order to achieve the right balance between long term technological developments and short-cycle innovations, we are developing architectures capable of integrating developments and breakthroughs, while meeting the highest level of security requirements, thanks in particular to our InnovLab approach. We are particularly focused on our relationships with today’s dynamic startup ecosystem.
Meeting environmental challenges
We are driven by the need for fuel-efficient, high-performance aircraft, and we are working on solutions to reduce air transport emissions. We are involved in research programs that seek to achieve technological and operational breakthroughs from an environmental point of view.
Civil aviation research in France
As part of France’s civil aviation research council (Corac), we are involved in several projects related to the use of hydrogen in future aircraft. We are developing high-aspect-ratio wing technologies and working on new on-board functions, collaborative design and the factory of the future.
Since 2008, the Clean Sky 1 and 2 research programs have provided us with a framework for addressing environmental issues from a variety of angles. These programs involve collaboration with major partners in seven different European countries.
Reducing carbon emissions goes hand in hand with lowering fuel consumption, which in turn entails reducing aircraft drag and mass.
We are making progress in the areas of eco-design, new materials, as well as maintenance and recycling technologies in order to optimize the life cycle of our aircraft.
Our work on noise reduction and the development of new acoustic barriers is enabling us to achieve enhanced noise management.
Sesar, a European program devoted to improving air traffic management, has contributed to the development of our FalconEye system, allowing safe access to all airports, including those with poor visibility. We are also working on optimizing flight paths to reduce carbon emissions.
Airborne artificial intelligence
The Man-Machine Teaming (MMT) is a research program aimed at creating an ecosystem dedicated to the integration of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for military aviation. A project entrusted to Dassault Aviation and Thales by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA), the MMT program comprises 43 projects and involves 37 companies, including 12 start-ups, 12 manufacturers (mostly SMEs) and 13 academic partners.
We plan well ahead and match the pace of innovation to that of development projects in order to complete complex programs that meet our customers’ evolving needs, on time and on budget.
Industrial and design architect
In our capacity as an industrial architect, we support our customers and partners by managing the entire life cycle of each program. Guarantor of the system’s underlying fundamentals and its development, the industrial architect is responsible for assessing the technological challenges as well as the scope and sharing of tasks between partners. The added value we provide as an industrial architect lies in our ability to manage, coordinate and guarantee the ultimate efficacy of the systems delivered by such programs.
Our focus as a design architect is on developing data-driven systems with resilient and adaptable architectures, as well as collaborative functions that can be distributed across multiple platforms to cope with compromised network conditions.
New Generation Fighter
We are the leading industrial partner in the European New Generation Fighter (NGF) program, a mainstay of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). On the basis of the concept study contract signed in January 2019, France and Germany officially announced the start of preliminary development work on the NGF demonstrator. In December 2020, Spain became the third partner in the FCAS program.
A networked system, the FCAS includes the NGF, existing fighters, UAVs, cruise missiles, satellites, which are integrated with other systems: satellites, surveillance aircraft, along with land and naval systems.
The Rafale continues to surge ahead thanks to a combination of technological advances and user feedback. Its F3-R standard, launched in 2014, entered initial operational capability in December 2019. It will be followed by the F4 standard: starting in 2022 for certain functions, with full operational capability scheduled for 2024. The F4 standard focuses on connectivity, survivability, combat engagement capabilities and dispatch reliability.
The Falcon 10X was unveiled on May 6, 2021. It is set to be the most comfortable and spacious ultra-long-range business jet. Its entry into service (EIS) is scheduled for late 2025.
The Falcon 6X program was launched in February 2018 for entry into service in 2022. It completed its first flight on March 10, 2021.
The contract for the Falcon Albatros for maritime surveillance (AVSIMAR) was officially announced in December 2020.
The Archange airborne strategic intelligence program was officially announced in December 2019. It will be based on three Falcon 8X aircraft incorporating electronic warfare systems designed by Thales.
Partnering on drones
The nEUROn, launched in 2012, is the first stealth combat drone (UCAV) to date to be developed as part of a joint European program. Tests of this UCAV have generated invaluable data, especially in terms of advanced stealth, and they are set to continue. Eurodrone, the European medium-altitude long-endurance drone (UAV), was unveiled in April 2018. Developed by Airbus Defence & Space, with Dassault Aviation and Leonardo as partners, its preliminary design review has been validated.
Our expertise enables us to design cutting-edge projects and to support future French and European space activities, which are central to strategic autonomy.
Digital drivers are central to our innovative solutions, our transformation and how we organize our work. Our capabilities as a system architect draw on all major digital technologies, from 3D design to big data. For more than thirty years, we have been among the pioneers of a new industrial revolution.
Ever since the revolutionary advent of 3D modeling, we have been investing in digital innovations. This was the crucible that forged Dassault Systèmes, our long-standing partner. Our links with the world leader in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions provide us the expertise and methods needed to adapt these powerful technologies to our industrial activities. The new tools we are deploying also enhance our ability to look ahead and take a comprehensive view — from design through production, and right down to support and the user experience.
The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the adaptability and responsiveness of our teams, which have provided business continuity in an unprecedented situation involving large-scale telecommuting.
A sovereign information system
We are investing in a sovereign and high-performance information system. As an architect of aeronautical solutions working in partnership with our industrial partners and our government customers, we are building the collaborative combat systems of the future.
In May 2018, we signed a long-term agreement with Dassault Systèmes, paving the way for the 3DExperience platform to replace all PLM solutions for our civil and military aircraft programs. The development of the Future Falcon and new combat aircraft is being carried out against this backdrop. This is a truly pivotal choice, one designed to improve the overall efficiency of our product lifecycle management by eventually setting up a single platform for all programs.
Collaborative system engineering
By collaborative system engineering, we mean using a shared digital model to coordinate everybody involved in the development of large airborne systems.
Implemented as part of the ATL2 modernization project, this method is currently being applied as part of the NGF collaborative project and is being extended to our new programs. The system digital model allows security and data sovereignty considerations to be incorporated very early in the process. Dassault Aviation is also connected to the secure platforms used by the French defense procurement agency DGA and its partners, providing greater scope for joint development work.
Analysis, decision-making and big data
We make use of big data in all our programs. It enables the deployment of management, analysis and decision-making tools, based on strictly controlled and sovereign shared data.
In 2020, to develop the Artificial Intelligence algorithms required for big data, we launched both an “AI Challenge for Industry” (in partnership with the Greater Paris Region) and specifically aeronautics-related research (as part of our Data Science Lab collaboration with Dassault Systèmes).
for the future
Thanks to the specialized character of our plants, our international footprint (particularly in India) and our digital innovations, we are able to constantly adapt our manufacturing systems in order to maintain the level of quality and competitiveness demanded by the global market.
Made in India
The contract for 36 Rafales has led to a significant strengthening of our 65-year relationship with India, based on the transfer of costs and technologies linked to the search for sustainable gains in competitiveness. Accordingly, Falcon 2000LXS aircraft produced as part of the Albatros program for the French Navy will be assembled in India.
Since early 2019, our Nagpur plant, located in the state of Maharashtra, has been delivering Falcon 2000 front cockpit sections that meet our quality standards. The production ramp-up, planned over a five-year period, has resulted in the construction of a second 135,000-sq.-foot production facility. As in our other plants, production continued, in spite of the Covid-19 epidemic, in strict compliance with health measures.
Gateway to India
The growth of our business has resulted in a number of partnerships with local companies. Our supply chain is expanding to include new suppliers. Ranging from large industrial operators to SMEs, the French aeronautical ecosystem involved in the Rafale program includes 25 production facilities and 20 joint ventures in India. Activities include design, production and support.
We are continuing the process of further integrating and specializing our production system in a series of strategic areas: metal products, composites, flat products, etc. This drive for synergy has led to the construction of a new plant in Cergy as well as of new buildings in Mérignac, Martignas and Biarritz.
Synergies and new ways of working
The changes we are making to our facilities foster a more collaborative approach. Our design teams work even more closely with our customers and take a more holistic view of the entire aircraft lifecycle. For instance, the design office integrates production and recycling requirements at a very early stage, in accordance with Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) standards.
The process of deploying a dedicated production management system across all our plants began is ongoing. It is currently up and running at six of our eight production sites in France. It will improve our industrial performance and the responsiveness of our supply chain.
One of the first benefits of the Connected Factory 4.0 system is that our operators now have access to digital augmented reality support tools.
We are at the center of an industrial network that has gradually developed over the decades, one that shares knowledge and methods, along with proven design and production tools. Aéroprint bears witness to these relationships: this agreement to support the development of additive manufacturing involves the creation of a collaborative platform in Argonay.