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Dassault scales new heights

Dassault's annual team-building exercise reached new heights this year with an ascent of Mt Blanc - Europe's highest peak at 4,810m (15,780ft). And, to mark the moment in style, this Falcon 7X overflew the summit while the Dassault party and its guides were enjoying a short celebration before beginning their descent.

Meanwhile, Dassault remains tight-lipped about the dimensions, construction and performance that will characterise its planned super-mid-size SMS business jet, but the airframer's flight-control system development department has been working on the project for a month in tandem with the airframe engineers.

No project details will be revealed at the Farnborough air show, but Dassault Equipements in Argonay says the Rolls-Royce RB282-3-powered SMS will be the second Dassault civil jet to feature its digital flight control (DFCS) system, following its flagship Falcon 7X.

Dassault claims to be unique among airframers in developing, manufacturing and supporting its own, proprietary flight-control system, and regards DFCS as one of the company's "jewels", which enables it to take a lead role in projects like the European Neuron unmanned military aircraft project. DFCS for Falcon jets is a direct spin-off from Dassault's military work.

The SMS was launched in July 2007 and may enter service in 2012. The aircraft will replace the Honeywell TFE731-powered Falcon 50EX at the bottom of the Dassault range.

 7X Mt Blanc
 © Dan Thisdell/Flight International

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