Operating in an unpredictable environment and facing very long-term challenges, 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 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 only the company’s fifth Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in the last century.
Our long-term vision is a major advantage in aviation, an industry with very long cycles: an aircraft may well stay in production for 25 years and remain in service for more than 40 years. 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.
We deploy a unique approach to sharing results based on fair distribution, in particular a profit-sharing agreement that goes well beyond legal requirements. In 2018, for example, we paid 168 million euros (including the corporate social contribution) to employees via profit-sharing and incentive agreements, on a par with the 177 million euros in dividends paid to our shareholders (proposed at the Annual General Meeting in May 2019).
Furthermore, Dassault Aviation pays a large majority of its taxes in France. For 2018, we are paying 93% of our taxes in France, a total of 178 million euros, an amount comparable to the two aforementioned figures.
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 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 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 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, MALE RPAS 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.
Ongoing Rafale upgrades for the F4 standard or export versions, the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), development of the Falcon 6X and Future Falcon, modernization of the ATL2, next- generation maritime surveillance and electronic warfare aircraft, drones… all of these challenges count on our ability to innovate, reflected in new development contracts and a substantial investment in R&D.
The way we manage innovation is also changing. Through the InnovLab approach, we formalize and federate research and innovation projects. At the same time, we maintain our focus on fostering relations with today’s dynamic startup ecosystem.
CIVIL AVIATION RESEARCH IN FRANCE
We are a member of France’s civil aviation research council, Corac (Conseil pour la recherche en aéronautique civile), with contributions spanning the entire sector: a composite wing demonstrator, modular avionics extended to business aircraft, tomorrow’s cockpit functions and aircraft systems, more electric aircraft, and production processes for the Factory of the Future.
Dassault Aviation has been involved in the European research programs Clean Sky 1 and 2 since 2008. Along with about 20 major partners from seven European countries, we are aiming for a nearly 50% reduction in aircraft fuel consumption, emissions and noise. This work has led to an extended laminar wing aircraft demonstrator called BLADE (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe), along with the development of manufacturing technologies needed for volume production. We have been participating in BLADE flight tests and data analysis since 2015, as well as building a demonstrator for production of the tail plane that would meet laminar aerodynamics criteria. We are also working on ways of improving airport and passenger environments, including studies on controlling internal and external noise, and saving weight through load control methodologies.
Within the scope of SESAR, a joint undertaking to improve European air traffic management, we helped develop 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.
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 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.
THE ARCHITECT’S ROLE
The system architect has to match the pace of innovations with that of programs scheduled to hit the market towards 2040. We decide on the scope of relevant tasks, and how they will be distributed.
Our role is to identify both constant factors and those subject to short innovation cycles so we can incorporate these fast-paced changes without compromising the fundamentals of the overall system and facilitate upcoming upgrades.
LEADER ON THE NEW-GENERATION FIGHTER
Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defence & Space united their strengths on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) in April 2018. This networked system will integrate the New-Generation Fighter, current fighters, drones, cruise missiles, satellites and surveillance aircraft, along with land and naval systems. Dassault Aviation is the lead contractor on the New- Generation Fighter (NGF).
RAFALE: CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The continuous improvement approach applied to the Rafale is based on a combination of technological advances and feedback from operations. As planned, the F3-R standard, initiated in 2014, was qualified in November 2018 and will be deployed in 2019. The F4 standard was launched in January 2019, and concerns enhanced connectivity, survivability, combat capabilities and dispatch reliability. It should be completely validated in 2024, and some functions will be available as early as 2022.
The Falcon 6X program was launched in February 2018 for an entry into service in 2022. At the same time, we are developing a “Future Falcon”.
Other Falcons, modified to handle special missions, are being prepared. In France, the main program is CUGE, which involves three Falcons configured for intelligence and electronic warfare. The program was announced in March 2018, and contract awards are expected at the end of 2019. Maritime surveillance aircraft should also be ordered in 2020, based on the Falcon 2000LXS model.
DRONES AND PARTNERSHIPS
The nEUROn program, launched in 2012, is the first stealthy combat drone (UCAV) to date to be developed as part of a joint European program. Tests of this drone have generated invaluable data on this type of strategic system, especially on its advanced stealthiness. These tests have generated very useful data, and will continue.
Unveiled in April 2018, the medium-altitude long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft system (MALE RPAS), developed by Airbus Defence & Space, with Dassault Aviation and Leonardo as co-contractors, has passed its preliminary design review, paving the way to program launch in the near future.
In addition to our proven expertise in pyrotechnics and telemetry, we have developed solid technological capabilities in hypervelocity and atmospheric reentry, and we are now applying this know-how to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Rider program. We are also capable of offering fast-response access to space and reusable space systems.
This expertise allows us to offer projects based on disruptive technologies, in line with our Space Roadmap 2040, and to support any future decisions made by France and Europe concerning space, more than ever a key to strategic autonomy.
Digital is at the heart of our innovative solutions 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.
Leading up to the 3D modeling revolution, we have always invested in digital innovations. This was the crucible that forged Dassault Systèmes, our long-standing partner. Our links with the world leader in digital design and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions gives us the foundations and skills needed to adapt these state-of-the-art technologies to innovative solutions for industry. 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.
TRANSFORMATION AND A NEW INDUSTRIAL BENCHMARK
The digital transformation at Dassault Aviation is driven by our expertise in aircraft development and new information technologies. This transformation fosters continuous and natural improvements in how we work, to make sure that we remain among the world leaders.
3DEXPERIENCE: A PIVOTAL CHOICE
On May 28, 2018, we signed a long-term agreement with Dassault Systèmes to replace all PLM solutions for our civil and military aircraft programs with the 3Dexperience platform. Both future Falcon developments and the New-Generation Fighter will be produced in this environment. 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. 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 for system engineering deployed by the French defense procurement agency DGA and its partners, expanding possibilities for the joint development of major weapon systems.
Our production facilities are constantly upgraded to maintain world-class quality and competitiveness, through solutions such as digital innovation, specialized plants and an international footprint.
MADE IN INDIA
Our first Management Committee meeting held elsewhere than in Saint- Cloud was organized in New Delhi on April 23, 2018. This event clearly reflects the importance of our investment in India as part of our strategic vision. Our choice was based on the need to achieve sustainable competitiveness gains within the scope of the technology and workload transfers as part of India’s order of 36 Rafale fighters in 2016.
Our plant in Nagpur delivered its first Falcon 2000 parts at the end of 2018. The production ramp- up, planned over a five year period, is taking shape with the construction of a second hangar-workshop. At the same time, our teams have trained the first Indian operators and managers.
The growth of our business in India has resulted in a number of partnerships with local companies, as well as a supply chain extended to include new suppliers. More than 150 French SMEs have already been offered development opportunities related to India’s Rafale contract.
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, based on a new software package called Sapriso. This specialization approach also entails the construction of new buildings, already under way or planned, in Mérignac, Martignas and Biarritz. In addition, it is behind the relocation of our fuselage, fully-equipped skin panels and complex metallic pipe activities in a new plant in Cergy-Pontoise, near Paris.
SYNERGIES AND NEW WAYS OF WORKING
Changes to our facilities are also designed to foster new and more collaborative ways of working. For instance, the engineers in our design offices incorporate production and support requirements right from the outset. And our design teams work even more closely with our customers and take a more holistic view of the entire aircraft. We have also embraced the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) approach.
Work is continuing on the Factory 4.0 concept, in particular through advanced manufacturing and logistics management to create a set of operational standards that will support a sustained improvement in our production performance. These standards will enhance the use of connected production, responsive production organization and robotization.
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 an agreement signed with the French Ministry of the Armed Forces in 2014.
Our role is also taking concrete shape with Aeroprint, an agreement signed with the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France in November 2018 to support the development of the regional additive manufacturing industry. Among other aspects, this program supports the construction of a collaborative platform in Argonay, slated to start testing in 2020 and production in 2022.