France’s Dassault Aviation can trace its roots back to the beginning of the 20th century. While working with other designers, Marcel Bloch contributed to French aviation during the First World War by designing a superior propeller for fighter aircraft. In 1929, he began his own company, designing and building mail and passenger aircraft. Throughout the 1930s, a stream of transports were turned out, including the four-engined Languedoc, operated by Air France. At the same time, a series of fighters were built for the French Air Force.
At the beginning of World War II, Marcel Bloch refused to work for the Vichy government and he and his family were imprisoned. After the war, he reorganized his company as Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch. In 1949, he changed his name to Marcel Dassault, which was carried through in his aircraft company too. Well known for his fighter jets in the 1950s and 1960s, his company began to design passenger jets in the early 1960s. Now, some 60 years after the first so-called Dassault Falcon jet flew, new models are still being designed and produced for the civil and corporate jet markets.
Here is a list, and some photos of these Dassault Falcon jets:
Falcon 20, the first design, could carry up to 8 passengers and fly 1,800 nautical miles. The low-winged twin jet was initially known as the Dassault-Breguet Mystere 20, and was successfully marketed around the world. The prototype first flew in 1963. In the U.S., Pan American Business Jets Division did final delivery outfitting for some time. Federal Express even bought some of the jets on the used market, and converted them into courier-carrying freighters. Multiple engine substitutions were offered, and military versions were known as the Mystere and later the U. S. Coast Guard’s HU-25 Guardian. A total of 473 Falcon 20s and 35 Falcon 200s (an improved version with bigger engines) were produced; the final one in 1988.
The Falcon 10 was a smaller variant of the Falcon 20, it was first introduced in 1970. It could carry 4 to 7 passengers with a range near 1900 nautical miles, and this model also had multiple engine modifications. The Falcon 100 was one of the upgraded versions. The French Navy operated a handful a multi-engine instrument trainers. A total of 226 airframes were produced through 1989.
The Falcon 50 was a major step into the longer-ranged corporate jet world, adding a third engine which could open up trans-oceanic travel. The Falcon 50 had a range of nearly 3200 nautical miles and could carry 8 to 9 passengers. A maritime patrol version was built and operated by the French Navy. The Falcon 50EX included a new Digital Electronic Engine Control. Now out of production, a total of 352 airframes were completed.
An enlarged Falcon 50 design became the Falcon 900, with a range of 4750 nautical miles and up to 19 seats. Several versions were built, including a patrol version for the French Navy. The first version of this jet became operational in 1985, and the design is still manufactured today, after more than 500 airframes have been built.
The Falcon 2000 returned to the twin-engine design, with up to 10 seats and a range around 4000 nautical miles. Its design is a reworked Falcon 900 fuselage, which was shortened and the wing modified. Production began in 1995, and is still being built today, after some 675 deliveries of this type.
The next series of Falcon jets were renumbered…
The Falcon 7X first flew in May, 2005. Seating for 12 to 16 passengers can be fitted, and the range of a 7X is close to 5900 nautical miles. Since its first delivery, more than 289 Falcon 7Xs have been built.
The Falcon 8X first flew on February 6, 2015. It can carry 12 to 16 passengers some 6450 nautical miles. It has been described as a larger, improved Falcon 7X.
Under development is a pair of the newest Falcons… the Falcon 6X and Falcon 10X.
The Falcon 6X is a “super midsized” jet billed to be the widest corporate jet in its class at 102 inches across. Advertised range is 5500 nautical miles, maximum passenger seating is 16. Originally the Falcon 5X, engine problems during development caused a lengthy delay. First flight of this design occurred in early 2021.
The Falcon 10X is the newest Falcon design, with a range of 7500 nautical miles. The design is envisioned to compete with the Bombardier Global 7500 and Gulfstream G-700. Introduction of the 10X is planned in 2025.