Operating in an unpredictable environment and facing very long- term challenges, Dassault Aviation can count on its solid fundamentals. Our strength lies in our singular development model and very faithful customers. Our long-term viability is the result of our ability to imagine the future, and adapt to a constant stream of new challenges.
Governance and family values
Dassault Aviation’s corporate management boasts exemplary stability, as illustrated by the fact that Éric Trappier is the Company’s fifth Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since its founding. Our stability ensures the long- term validity of the values that have driven Dassault Aviation’s success:
– technical excellence and innovation, combined with a passion for aeronautics;
– quick strategic decisions;
– flexibility to adapt to changes;
– the determination to meet objectives;
– efficient management and competitiveness;
– a human resources policy designed to attract top talent and ensure their loyalty.
Our long- term vision is a major advantage in aviation, an industry with very long cycles: an aircraft may stay in production for 25 years and be in service for more than 40 years.
Dual expertise: civil and military
Dassault Aviation’s dual civil- military expertise means that we can count on two different markets, reducing our exposure to fluctuating economic conditions. As a systems integrator and architect, we design and produce both military and business aircraft by calling on the same design departments and factories. The state-of-the-art technologies developed for defense also benefit our civil aviation business. For example, innovative solutions for the defense market, such as fly-by-wire controls, advanced aerodynamics, composites and data fusion, have been applied to the Falcon family of business jets. In return, our civil aircraft business has inspired new production processes and new certification and flight safety capabilities.
A unifying core
As industrial architect and systems integrator, Dassault Aviation unifies major suppliers in the aviation industry.
We have long taken 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.
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 sovereignty of France and Europe for both civil and military applications.
We put a major effort into the development of Falcon jets, of course, but our efforts also encompass many other areas, including the Rafale standard F3-R, modernization of the ATL2 maritime surveillance aircraft, drones and development of Rafale Export standards.
Our commitment to developing new technologies is reflected in significant self-funded investments and in-depth partnerships with research centers and competitiveness clusters. We are also involved in a number of joint Research & Development (R&D) programs.
A partner in civil aviation research
We are a major contributor to the civil aviation research council, Corac (Conseil pour la recherche en aéronautique civile), focusing on five major aspects: a composite wing demonstrator, modular avionics extended to business aircraft, cockpit of the future, electric aircraft, and tackling airframe noise sources.
Tangible European achievements
Dassault Aviation has been involved in the European research program Clean Sky since 2008. Along with 18 partners and the same number of major subcontractors from seven European countries, we are developing BLADE (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe), and also actively participating in the development of manufacturing technologies needed for volume production. BLADE is designed to meet the objective for a considerable decrease – at least 50% – in aircraft fuel consumption, emissions and noise. In particular, we were in charge of making the aerofairing for the demonstrator.
As part of this program’s Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD), the Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft, we are developing load control methods, as well as quieter exhaust systems, designed to attenuate engine noise directed towards the ground.
Through the follow-on Clean Sky 2 program, we are studying a new generation of materials, along with manufacturing, maintenance and recycling technologies that will further reduce our environmental impact.
Within the scope of SESAR, a Joint Undertaking to improve European air traffic management, we developed the FalconEye system, which will support the increased and safe use of airports, even under bad weather conditions, without having to add new ground infrastructures.
Through Hycarus, a European project, we are participating in the development of aviation applications for fuel cells. This project opens the door to a number of exciting new possibilities, especially for special-mission Falcons. Modular, flexible and easy to access, this new energy source can be quickly and seamlessly added to the aircraft’s existing systems.
At the same time, we continue to participate in the European alternative fuels program, Alpha-BIRD.
Space systems: demanding standards, joint programs
We take part in the joint development of advanced space vehicles, such as the IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) in collaboration with Thales Alenia Space, and its successor, the Space Rider, with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space research center (CIRA).
We are also studying projects for small airborne launchers carried aloft by a Rafale or Falcon, as well as the Vehra family of suborbital vehicles, with French space agency CNES. These semi- reusable systems are designed to launch small satellites.
We contributed to the success of deep space missions, such as the Cassini and Rosetta probes.
Building on our expertise in pyrotechnic devices for rockets (the Ariane launcher in particular) and satellites, we are also developing a digital pyromechanism.
Artificial intelligence for tomorrow’s air systems
As part of the Man- Machine Teaming (MMT) program, French defense procurement agency DGA chose Dassault Aviation and Thales to lead the development of an ecosystem dedicated to the integration of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for military aviation.
We deliver complex programs on time and on budget, in line with our customers’ current requirements and future needs. Based on the success of the Rafale and nEUROn, Dassault Aviation naturally expects to play a pivotal role in the structural partnerships shaping the aerospace industry.
Rafale: ongoing upgrades
The Rafale benefits from extensive operating feedback, enabling us to address the evolving requirements of today’s armed forces. The F3-R standard, under development since 2014, will be delivered on schedule in 2018 and deployed by French armed forces in 2019. It will offer a number of improvements, especially the ability to fire the very-long-range Meteor air-to-air missile. The French government announced the launch of development for the F4 standard in 2017, and awarded a risk reduction contract. This contract is part of the military spending bill for 2019- 2025, which also provides for upgrades to parts of the deterrent force, and lays groundwork for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), slated for deployment towards 2040. The FCAS will be a system comprising interconnected platforms and weapons, built around a multirole combat aircraft, to cover all types of air combat missions.
nEUROn, a successful European collaboration
The nEUROn program has validated the European collaboration model that we support. The first European UCAV (unmanned combat air system) demonstrator was completed on time and on budget, while producing the expected technological results. Companies from six European countries played roles in line with their areas of expertise, while Dassault Aviation fulfilled its role as industrial architect and program leader, in charge of making the right choices.
The nEUROn program, launched in 2012, is the first stealthy UCAV to date to be developed as part of a joint European program. Tests are generating incisive data on this type of strategic system, especially on its very-low observability (VLO) qualities. Considered highly productive, these different tests will continue in the coming years.
Dassault Aviation has amply demonstrated its ability to work effectively with partners on future air combat systems, and to develop the technological building blocks and operational concepts needed. We blazed this path starting in 2014, with a joint program in collaboration with the United Kingdom. The French-German initiative dating from July 2017 continues along this path, based on a European combat aircraft in which Dassault Aviation naturally expects to play its traditional role as the lead industrial architect for key systems.
We are contributing to a new drone called MALE RPAS (medium- altitude, long- endurance remotely piloted aircraft system), which has kicked off a two- year design study phase. Led by Airbus Defence & Space, with Leonardo and Dassault Aviation as co- contractors, this program should be launched in early 2019.
In the civil aviation sector, for the last few months we have been gearing up for the launch of a new Falcon, which will join the family alongside the Falcon 6X, launched in February 2018. Partners from the European and North American aviation industries will play a major role on these new programs, with a focus on aerostructures, engines and systems.
We are also working on upgrading our special-mission Falcon jets, especially for intelligence (including integration of universal electronic warfare capability, CUGE), surveillance and maritime patrol, while bolstering their interoperability in tactical environments combining satellites, drones and combat aircraft.
Digital technology plays a central role in innovation and work organization at Dassault Aviation. Our capabilities as industrial architect draw on the full spectrum of digital solutions, from 3D design to big data. We are a pioneer in this latest industrial revolution, starting over 30 years ago.
Digital in our DNA
Since 3D models revolutionized our industry, Dassault Aviation has continued to invest in digital innovation. Dassault Aviation was the crucible that forged Dassault Systèmes, our legacy partner. These close ties with the world leader in digital design software and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions gives us the experience and capabilities needed to apply these state-of-the-art solutions to industrial innovation. The new tools we are deploying boost our forecasting ability and overall vision, from design through production and all the way to the user experience.
A new industrial benchmark
Our digital transformation is driven by our expertise in aircraft development and new information technologies. This transformation supports the continuous and natural enhancement of how we work, to ensure that we deliver sustained world-class performance.
3DExperience®: a shared development platform
We are implementing a development and production process for our aircraft, based on the 3DExperience® platform from Dassault Systèmes. Using this new application, we can optimize the overall development cycle for our aircraft by managing all economic and technical criteria inherent in a program of this type: manufacturability, procurement, reuse, in-service support and more.
A digital factory improves production efficiency and simplicity through the use of “digital twins”, which simulate the operation of production units. These simulations allow us to make vital decisions before we actually produce parts and assemblies.
Collaborative system engineering and system PLM
By “collaborative system engineering”, we mean using a shared system digital model to coordinate everybody involved in the development of large airborne systems. This approach was applied to the modernization of the ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft, using the System PLM digital platform, and is now being used on all of our new programs. The system digital model also provides a way of integrating security and data privacy criteria very early in the process.
Dassault Aviation is also connected to the secure digital platforms deployed by the French defense procurement agency DGA for systems engineering, expanding possibilities for the joint development of major weapon systems.
Analysis, decision-making and big data
Dassault Aviation’s collaborative big data platform, based on Dassault Systèmes’ Exalead™ solution, provides secure access to the Company’s data to support analysis and decision-making. The specific algorithms for aeronautics are developed in a jointly- owned laboratory (Data Science Lab), using a co-engineering approach.
Changes in our production
Our production facilities are constantly upgraded to maintain world-class quality and competitiveness. The solutions deployed with this objective in mind include digital innovation, specialized plants and an international footprint.
India, a critical challenge
By setting up a production entity in India, Dassault Aviation continues to bolster its international development. We support Make in India, the Indian government policy designed to boost its economic development, especially cutting-edge industries, by encouraging foreign companies to set up local operations. With the sale of 36 Rafale fighters, a contract signed in 2016, we committed to long- term workload and technology transfers, as part of offset agreements. This commitment reflects the strategic partnership between France and India. The Make in India initiative will eventually be a competitiveness driver for one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies.
We started the construction of a plant in Nagpur, State of Maharashtra, in 2017. This facility represents the largest single foreign investment in India’s defense sector. It will first make parts for the Falcon 2000, then gradually ramp up production over the next five years. The Nagpur plant symbolizes our partnership with the Reliance Group, which resulted in the creation of a joint venture in early 2017, DRAL.
Our supply chain will benefit from new opportunities offered by our development in India. We are continuing operations designed to support our suppliers’ growth, so we can create a complete local ecosystem.
The drive to continuously improve our competitiveness is reflected in the organization of an integrated production system, based on an array of facilities specialized in strategic areas: metals, composites, flat products, etc. The aim is to further simplify our production organization and multiply synergies.
We have combined the SAP™ and Dassault Systèmes APRISO™ software packages into a single solution called “sapriso”, to unify manufacturing and logistics management, while also offering standardized connection to the European purchasing platform, AirSupply. Sapriso also synchronizes our production networks by offering enhanced visibility and real-time control of processes used by our own plants and suppliers. The result is a set of operational standards that continuously improve our production performance and also support connected manufacturing, a quick-response type organization of production and robotization.
Dassault Aviation also embraces Advanced Product Quality Planning, better known as APQP.
The One Procurement initiative reflects the same principle of unification applied to purchasing and procurement. As with digital tools, unifying processes makes us more efficient.
Concerning “make or buy” decisions, and more generally in relations with our partners, suppliers and subcontractors, we focus on long-term relationships based on a quality culture, meeting deadlines and competitiveness.