Operating in an unpredictable environment in which taking a very long - term view is key, Dassault Aviation can count on its solid fundamentals. 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
Today, 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 very 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, 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.
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 2019 fiscal year, employees will benefit to the tune of 187 million euros (including the specific correlated social tax). And, since Dassault Aviation pays the bulk of its taxes in France (98% in 2019), this means it will be making a contribution of 250 million euros to the public purse.
Dual expertise: civil and military
Our dual civil-military expertise means that we can count on two different markets, 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. For example, innovative solutions 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 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 and Space Rider.
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 for both civil and military applications.
Our innovation activities are fueled by 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 6X, the Future Falcon, the Falcon 8X Archange strategic intelligence aircraft and the Falcon 2000 Albatros for maritime surveillance, not to mention the Eurodrone and the nEUROn UCAV.
Integrating technological breakthroughs
In order to achieve the right balance between long term technological developments and short-cycle innovations, we are working on architectures capable of efficiently integrating developments and breakthroughs, while meeting the highest level of security requirements. With our InnovLab approach, we coordinate and formalize our proofs of concept for rapid application. We are particularly focused on our relationships with today’s dynamic startup ecosystem.
Meeting environmental challenges
We have always been 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 the France’s civil aviation research council, Corac, we are involved in work on a composite wing demonstrator, as well as on tomorrow’s airborne systems and cockpits, more electric aircraft, not to mention production processes for the factory of the future.
As part of the Clean Sky 1 and Clean Sky 2 research programs, we have been working since 2008 with some twenty major partners in seven European countries to address environmental issues from a variety of angles. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions goes hand in hand with lowering fuel consumption.
Our work is thus focused on reducing drag (laminar aerodynamics research) and mass (load control methods). Optimizing the production cycle involves research into eco-design, new materials, as well as maintenance and recycling technologies for aircraft. Our work on noise reduction and the development of new acoustic barriers enables us to achieve enhanced noise management.
Sesar a joint undertaking to improve European air traffic management, helped us with our development of 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. We are also working towards a system that offers flight paths designed to reduce emissions.
Airborne artificial intelligence
In March 2018, the French defense procurement agency (DGA) tasked Dassault Aviation and Thales with developing an ecosystem dedicated to the integration of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for military aviation: the Man-Machine Teaming (MMT) upstream program. By the end of 2018, 19 projects had already begun, involving 16 companies, eight startups and four laboratories throughout France. A second batch of projects was selected in April 2019.
We have learned how to plan well ahead and match the pace of innovation to that of development projects to successfully complete complex programs that meet our customers’ evolving needs, on time and on budget.
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 lies in our ability to manage, coordinate and guarantee the ultimate efficacy of complex programs.
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 initial framework contract to develop the NGF demonstrator in February 2020.
Dassault Aviation and Airbus have been partnering on this program since April 2018. A networked system, the FCAS will include the NGF, existing fighters, UAVs, cruise missiles, 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 (IOC) in December 2019. It will be followed by the F4 standard: starting in 2022 for certain functions, with full capability scheduled for 2024. The F4 standard focuses on connectivity, survivability, combat engagement capabilities and dispatch reliability.
The Falcon 6X program was launched in February 2018 for entry into service (EIS) in 2022. Its progress is on schedule. At the same time, we are developing a Future Falcon.
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. Two of the three planned Falcon Archange aircraft have already been ordered. Since the end of 2018, we have been carrying out preliminary studies for the Falcon Albatros maritime intervention and surveillance system (AVSIMAR), based on the Falcon 2000LXS. This aircraft is intended to replace the French Navy’s Falcon 200 and 50M.
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. These tests have generated very useful data and will continue. Eurodrone, the European medium-altitude long-endurance UAV, was unveiled in April 2018. Developed by Airbus Defence and Space, with Dassault Aviation and Leonardo as partners, its preliminary design review has been validated.
In addition to pyrotechnics and telemetry, our range of expertise includes aerothermodynamics, flight controls and systems integration. These are the areas in which we contribute to the European Space Agency (ESA) Space Rider program. We are also equipped to offer in-orbit launch capabilities at very short notice. This 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 system architect draw on all major digital technologies, from 3D design to big data. Starting over 30 years ago, we pioneered a revolution in industry.
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 provides us with experience and methods needed to adapt these powerful technologies to our industrial activities. The new tools we deploy also develop our ability to look ahead and take a 360° view, from design and production to the user experience.
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 next Falcon and new combat aircraft is being carried out against this backdrop. This is truly a pivotal choice, made 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 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
Big data is an essential factor in managing all of our programs. It will improve our products (and our production methods, as well as associated services), while also helping us develop new ones. By leveraging the advantages of shared data, it will support the deployment of management, analysis and decision-making tools.
Our collaborative big data platform is based on the Exalead solution from Dassault Systèmes, while the algorithms specific to aviation are developed by the Data Science Lab, a joint co-engineering research unit with Dassault Systèmes.
Our production facilities are constantly upgraded to maintain world6class quality and competitiveness, through solutions such as digital innovation, specialized plants and an international footprint, particularly in India.
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.
In early 2019, our Nagpur plant, located in the state of Maharashtra, delivered the first Falcon 2000 front cockpit sections, meeting the highest quality standards. The production ramp6up, planned over a five year period, has resulted in the construction of a second 12,500-m² production facility delivered in 2019.
The first Indian workers and managers have been trained by our teams, while general aeronautical training is being developed in cooperation with local engineering schools and the technical training sector.
Gateway to India
The growth of our business has resulted in a number of partnerships with local companies. Our supply chain is also expanding to include new suppliers. Ranging from large industrial operators to SMEs, the French aeronautical ecosystem involved in the Rafale program now includes 25 production facilities and 20 joint ventures in India. Activities include design, production and support.
Streamlined production system
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 is reflected in the announcement of plans to build a new plant in Cergy-Pontoise, as well as in the construction of new buildings in Mérignac, Martignas and Biarritz.
The changes we are making to our facilities are designed to 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 support requirements at a very early stage, in accordance with Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP).
The process of deploying a dedicated information system across all our plants began in Seclin in 2019. It will improve our industrial performance and the responsiveness of our supply chain.
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. In January 2019, we officially renewed our support for defense SMEs, following on from an agreement signed with the French Ministry of the Armed Forces in 2014. Aéroprint bears witness to these relationships: this agreement to support the development of additive manufacturing involves the creation of a collaborative platform in Argonay.