Dassault (chalet A14) is readying its SMS business jet for service entry in 2016, but details of the clean-sheet aircraft will remain under wraps for another two years, says Dassault senior vice-president civil aircraft Olivier Villa.

"We are working at full speed on the SMS. Aircraft performance has been finalised, we have validated its shape and the joint definition phase has begun with most of our major suppliers," Villa says.

Heroux Devtek is the only SMS supplier to have been identified so far, at the landing gear manufacturer's request. "Our partners are working with us at our facility in St Cloud. They will remain on site until the end of 2011 when they will return to their design offices," Villa says. Dassault expects to assemble the first SMS in 2013, but will not disclose the planned date for the aircraft's first flight.

The SMS - previously known as the Future Falcon - was mooted by Dassault in 2007, but the financial crisis forced the company in 2008 to slow development. A decision was made earlier this year to officially launch the programme and proceed at full throttle.

"It seemed the right moment to press ahead. A recession is usually a good time to develop new aircraft and we now have a product that the market will want for the next 30 years," Villa says.

Dassault will not disclose any details about the SMS for two years Villa says, when the marketing campaign is set to kick off. "No information will be released. We don't want to give anything away to our competitors," Villa says.

Given its title however, the SMS is widely believed to be positioned in the super-midsize category at the bottom of Dassault's high-performance aircraft product line. This slot was vacated by the phasing out of the 50EX in 2007.

Source: Flight Daily News