An enterprise that shapes the future
Dassault Aviation’s strength is anchored in our unique development model. Our ability to imagine the future and adapt to emerging challenges guarantees Dassault’s long-term viability.
Our civil and military businesses are complementary, giving us a competitive edge that is further bolstered by our transformation plan, Leading our Future.
The advantages of our singular model
Dassault Aviation designs and integrates aircraft systems, and we design and build both civil and military aircraft in the same offices and plants. The advanced technologies developed for defense applications have always benefited our civil aircraft, for instance by incorporating fly-by-wire controls, state-of-the-art aerodynamics, composite materials, data fusion and other innovations in the Falcon family. In turn, our civil aircraft have spurred the development of new production processes and fostered new skills in certification and safety applications.
Leading our Future plan guides organizational changes
Announced in October 2016, Leading our Future is our transformation plan. It will make the company more competitive, increase our market shares and position us to launch a new Falcon. The actors in this plan are the people in our company and the main driver is digital development.
This approach continues to be anchored in our skills, our ability to transfer knowledge and the Dassault Aviation spirit. Our human resources policy draws on the professionalism of our people and continues to oversee the organization’s performance as a whole, while also fostering each person’s development. At the same time, our HR policy nurtures individual responsibility and teamwork.
Each of our facilities has its own area of specialization, an approach that optimizes the production process and allows us to concentrate our investments in strategic areas. We will also develop an approach that allows greater reuse on Falcon jets. The design-production engineering link will be improved, while a shared information system will ensure digital continuity, data quality and real-time responsiveness for everyone involved. We constantly adjust the level of subcontracting to enhance flexibility and competitiveness.
An integrated team from Dassault Systèmes and Dassault Aviation is exploring new digital solutions, such as PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) for systems, or big data, and quickly incorporates them in our businesses. We are also accelerating our digital transformation, especially at the production level, to benefit all users.
Innovation and technological performance are two concepts underpinning our corporate culture. We have now appointed a Vice President for Innovation, tasked with unifying initiatives from different areas and reporting to corporate management.
Our purchasing policy has inspired new ways of teaming up with our partners to reduce costs.
Our program departments, at the heart of our operations, now have full responsibility for their projects, not only at the technical level, but also in terms of meeting quality, cost and lead time requirements. We will also be changing our Quality Assurance methods during the development process, so we can integrate all production and support requirements right from the outset.
Dassault Aviation is the hub of a global network of strategic partnerships, gearing up for future Rafale and Falcon developments, along with tomorrow’s drones.
Constantly evolving aircraft
The Rafale continues to benefit from accumulated operating feedback, enabling us to better address the evolving needs of today’s armed forces. The Rafale F3-R standard, now being finalized, will be delivered to French forces in 2019. Looking further ahead, the French Ministry of Defense plans to include the future Rafale F4 standard, as well as a fifth production batch, in the next five-year procurement program.
Our commitment to maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft came to fruition with the sale of the Falcon 2000MSA maritime surveillance aircraft to the Japanese coast guard. This aircraft will feature a multimode radar, an optronic (electro-optical) system and Search &Rescue (SAR) kits. In France, we’re modernizing the Atlantique 2 (ATL2) and Falcon 50 aircraft for the country’s navy, and building foundations for the future, based on the Patmar 2030 study for future multimodal maritime patrol systems.
Our business jets are designed to address emerging market requirements, as shown by the Falcon 5X, which reflects a trend towards larger cabins. The FalconEye combined vision system (CVS) offers pilots an unprecedented combination of computer-generated and infrared images. We are also offering in-flight diagnostic systems to limit the time our planes are grounded, by scheduling necessary maintenance operations even before landing.
We are now readying the launch of a new Falcon jet, which will offer characteristics determined by our market studies and technological capabilities.
We have successfully managed the first joint European unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) program, nEUROn, which will be undergoing a new test program in 2017-2018.
We are also continuing a design study with BAE Systems for the FCAS (Future Combat Air System), launched at the end of 2014. The study concerns operational concepts for a stealthy combat drone, and the development of innovative technologies. The end of 2017 should see the development kickoff for an operational demonstrator, as announced during the Franco-British summit in Amiens in March 2016.
In September 2016, we started working with Airbus Defence and Space and Leonardo on a preliminary design study for a European MALE RPAS (medium-altitude long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft system), which will last about two years.
Our long experience in the space sector contributed to the success of deep space missions such as Cassini and Rosetta.
We take part in the joint development of advanced space vehicles, such as the IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) atmospheric reentry demonstrator, along with Thales Alenia Space, and its successor, Space Rider, with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian aerospace 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.
Building on our long experience with pyrotechnics for rockets and satellites, we are also developing digital pyromechanisms.
To enhance our competitiveness, the Leading our Future transformation plan should result in greater strategic specialization of our facilities, while also strengthening our methods, which combine outstanding people and expertise in digital technology.
Splitting our production tasks into strategic streams is an approach designed to simplify the overall process and foster synergies between the different professions. It also aims to improve the efficiency and adaptability of our current plants and keep them state-of-the-art. At the same time, it will help develop our next-generation workshops, which offer automated and flexible lines, coupled with highly qualified staff, connected objects and quick-response control, thanks to real-time information systems. This approach will lead to higher-level integration between production engineering, design and quality assurance, by favoring robust production standards. It will also apply a make-or-buy policy in conjunction with subcontractors and partners to achieve the most competitive costs possible.
At the same time, we are strengthening our supply chain by deploying procurement centers for major component families.
New digital processes
A pioneer in the digital revolution, we leverage our expertise in digital systems to deploy solutions for our industry based on internet standards. The aim is to foster intuitive collaboration, simplify information access and facilitate its analysis, adapt more easily and manage more effectively. We have defined four main change drivers:
- a development and manufacturing process based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience platform, focused on manufacturability, procurability and reuse;
- unified production management that provides closer coordination of our own logistics, plus a standardized connection to the AirSupply platform;
- a new management system for our MES (Manufacturing Execution System) workshops, better adapted to our organization based on improved production responsiveness;
- a secure big data platform to enhance data sharing, while improving our analysis, forecasting and decision-making capabilities.
Design focused on industrial performance
The use of Product Lifecycle Management, or PLM, has decreased production costs and cycles by using digital instead of physical models, and also by optimizing the mechanical production processes, using CATIA System™ software.
For the Falcon 5X and modernized ATL2 programs, this approach has been expanded to include the development of electronic systems and embedded software. Our designers called on PLM Version 6 and CATIA System™ to improve avionics integration, by enabling our partners working on electronics to collaborate on a digital model of the systems involved.
We are calling on CATIA System™ and a new version of PLM, dubbed the 3DExperience, to develop export versions of the Rafale. This platform is also deployed for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), and is connected to the digital systems engineering platforms at our industrial partners and the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction générale de l’armement) to facilitate development.