Dassault has broken ground on a major expansion and upgrade of its Little Rock facility in Arkansas that will be dedicated to Falcon 5X and 8X business jet completions. The large-cabin and ultra-long-range business jets are currently under development.

The French airframer has allocated around $60 million to the project, which will add 23,225m2 (250,000ft2) of new production and completion space, bringing the total footprint of the 40-year-old Little Rock facility to more than 116,000m2.

The cabinet, upholstery and headliner shops will also be refurbished and older hangars upgraded, says Dassault.

This expansion follows a $20 million 10,780m2 upgrade in 2008 that added four new state-of-the-art paint bays, along with new production, design and warehouse space, to accommodate completions of the long-range Falcon 7X.

The work is scheduled for completion by early 2016, ahead of initial deliveries of Dassault’s high-end business jet duo.

“This undertaking demonstrates a commitment to continue our investment in Little Rock and to ensure the facility will remain at the forefront of completion technology,” says Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier. “Little Rock is not only the company’s largest industrial plant, it is also an industry leader in digital completion techniques, which Dassault pioneered,” he adds.

The $45 million 5X was launched in October 2013 and is Dassault’s widest-cabin business jet to date. The twin-engined aircraft is being readied for its first flight next year, with certification and service entry earmarked for 2016.

The twinjet is being developed in parallel with the $57 million 8X, which was unveiled in May as the longest-range, longest-cabin aircraft in the airframer’s fleet.

Source: FlightGlobal.com