Research and the future

Dassault Aviation actively participates in French and European aeronautical research programs:

  • Management of the Clean Sky research program eco-design demonstrator,
  • Participation in the SESAR air traffic management program,
  • Participation in the Alpha-BIRD fuel program,
  • Coordination of the HYPATHIE project dedicated to measuring humidity at high altitude to study connections between aviation and increased cloud cover.

As a member of the CORAC, Dassault Aviation actively contributed to developing a technology roadmap setting out work to be done at national level in addition to the activities supported by the Clean Sky program for completion by 2020.

Lastly, with support from the DGAC, Dassault Aviation conducts more specific research into its aircraft with the aim of reducing the weight of structures and enhancing the aerodynamics of future airplanes.

Clean Sky

Dassault Aviation participates in this European Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) that was launched in Brussels on February 5, 2008.


Reconcile sustainable development and growth in international air traffic; validate the technologies needed for the “green” aircraft due for 2020; and reduce CO2 emissions and perceived noise by 30%.


Budget of €1.6 billion, public-private partnership involving 16 countries, 86 organizations, 54 manufacturers, 15 research centers, 17 universities and the entire European aeronautical supply chain.

Clean Sky is structured around six “Integrated Technology Demonstrators” (ITD), leading to the construction of ground or flight demonstrators (tests of the first demonstrators 2013-2014):

  • Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft – SFWA,
  • Green regional aircraft and helicopter,
  • “Green engines” platforms,
  • Systems for green operation and eco-design, etc.

Representing the business aviation industry, Dassault Aviation is working closely with Airbus on the SFWA, to study a wing of the future and reduce engine acoustic impact.

Dassault Aviation is also jointly responsible for the Eco-Design ITD. This demonstrator aims to reduce environmental impact during aircraft production and decommissioning, and to develop “clean” onboard energy systems (e.g. the “all electric” aircraft).

For Dassault Aviation, the Clean Sky project is a key step to bringing technologies and concepts to maturity for use on future Falcon business jets.

The environmental performance of conceptual virtual aircraft, combining the technologies under study in all Integrated Technology Demonstrators, will be compared to the performance of current aircraft, to provide an overall assessment of the expected benefits of Clean Sky technologies.


To deal with the increase in traffic, both Europe and the United States have launched major programs to modernize air traffic management: SESAR in Europe and NextGen in the USA.

Improving air traffic management (ATM) will decrease CO2 emissions by about 10%, based on the widespread use of modern satellite navigation systems to implement more precise take-off and approach procedures that will cut both noise and fuel use.

In the framework of the SESAR activities and as representative of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), Dassault Aviation supports a number of proposals to keep impact on the environment to a minimum:

  • Climb at cruise speed
    During the take-off phase, the aircraft continuously flies at cruise speed, where aerodynamics and engines function most efficiently. This could decrease fuel consumption, and therefore emissions, by up to 5%.
  • Continuous descent
    A continuous descent from the beginning of the descent phase to touchdown, instead of using a stair-step flight path, improves ecological performance and above all reduces the noise perceived by surrounding communities.
  • Specific approach procedures
    The business aviation industry is a pioneer in developing specific approaches which reduce noise perceived by local inhabitants thanks to the performance offered by business aircraft, especially steep slope approaches.


With fuel prices steadily rising and given the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, Dassault Aviation is taking part in the European Alfa-BIRD project together with the main players working on alternative fuels for use instead of or in conjunction with conventional jet fuel.

Use of biofuels and synthetic fuels is a major challenge, given the conditions of use and the severe restrictions involved.

The general aim of Alfa-BIRD is the technical development and economic assessment of these alternative fuels. It covers a number of areas, including:

  • Study of possible alternative fuels for use in aviation;
  • Chemical analysis of the “best” fuel;
  • Improved formulation of biofuels;
  • New injection systems;
  • Modeling of injection and combustion;
  • Compatibility with aircraft fuel systems;
  • Production of new fuels.

The participants in this program represent all disciplines. A dozen research organizations are involved alongside producers of fuels (Shell, Sasol), engines (Snecma, Rolls-Royce) and aircraft (Airbus, Avio Spa).

Dassault Aviation takes part as aircraft manufacturer representing the business aircraft segment and focuses particularly on “compatibility with aircraft fuel systems”.


Although one way of reducing environmental impact is to reduce cruising speeds, Dassault Aviation is also exploring the feasibility of a supersonic business jet that would still meet future environmental standards, including noise, pollution and the sonic boom.

The HISAC High Speed Aircraft program is a first step in evaluating the feasibility of a small supersonic aircraft.

Selected by the European Commission in September 2004 and launched in 2005, HISAC brings together over 37 partners from 13 countries, coordinated by Dassault Aviation.

In addition to our technological expertise, our experience and our research in supersonic flight, we were chosen for our ability to coordinate strategic international cooperation, as displayed on the nEUROn UAV program in which Dassault Aviation is prime contractor.

These capabilities are key to establishing specifications and target performance. Addressing pollution issues means working on engine fuel consumption, and therefore stepping up the efforts already made by leading engine manufacturers. However, the sonic boom and noise during take-off are less familiar fields of investigation still to be explored and controlled.

HISAC is keeping all options open in its search for solutions. It has therefore opted for a multidisciplinary optimization approach, with three teams – Dassault Aviation, Sukhoi and Alenia – working on three different aircraft configurations.

HISAC will culminate in a feasibility study and lead to an industrial program, provided that the identified critical technologies are accessible. At this point, they may be shared with American partners, who are currently working on other similar projects.