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Third and final Dassault Falcon 7X joins RAAF SPA fleet

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 23, 2019
Three RAAF Dassault Falcon 7X Special Purpose Aircraft on the flightline at Defence Establishment Fairbairn. (Defence)
Three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Dassault Falcon 7X Special Purpose Aircraft on the flightline at Defence Establishment Fairbairn. (Defence)

The third and final Dassault Falcon 7X to be operated by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 34SQN as VIP special purpose aircraft (SPA) has joined the fleet.

The three leased aircraft are based at Defence Establishment Fairbairn in Canberra and have been introduced into the fleet as the replacement for the Bombardier Challenger CL-604 jets.

The Dassault Falcon 7X, powered by three P&W PW307A engines, represented a major capability leap from the smaller CL-604, given its larger passenger load, modern flight deck, satellite communications capability and increased range.

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Further, the business jet also has good short-field performance and a low pavement rating, allowing it to operate into remote and regional airfields.

The Dassault Falcon 7X was first noted in an official role during Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s August visit to Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum.

The aircraft were leased to the RAAF through National Australia Bank Global Infrastructure and sustained in service by Northrop Grumman Australia.

Dassault Aviation Falcon Asia Pacific president Jean-Michael Jacob, Head of Air Force Capability AVM Cath Roberts, National Australia Bank director of global infrastructure and government corporate and institutional banking Don Oliveira, CO 34SQN WGCDR Jason Pont. (Defence)
Dassault Aviation Falcon Asia Pacific president Jean-Michael Jacob, Head of Air Force Capability AVM Cath Roberts, National Australia Bank director of global infrastructure and government corporate and institutional banking Don Oliveira, CO 34SQN WGCDR Jason Pont. (Defence)

Head of Air Force Capability Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Cath Roberts said the Falcon 7X represented the latest in a long tradition of the RAAF operating Dassault aircraft, from the Mirage III Fighter to the Falcon 20 and Falcon 900 business jets.

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“This long and successful partnership between Air Force and Dassault has continued seamlessly as we introduce the last of the Falcon 7X aircraft today,” AVM Roberts said in a statement on August 7.

“Our SPA fleet sustainment partner, Northrop Grumman, has a long history of professional maintenance services that has achieved excellent SPA availability for Air Force.

“As a result, Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to continue to sustain our SPA fleet, including the two Boeing Business Jet aircraft.”

Since 2001, Northrop Grumman Integrated Defence Services IDS (previously Qantas Defence Services) has delivered through-life support to 34 Squadron at Defence Establishment Fairbairn, which operates the current SPA fleet of two Boeing Business Jets (BBJs) and three Bombardier Challenger 604s.

The first Dassault Falcon 7X arrived in April.

Royal Australian Air Force Dassault Falcon 7X A56-002. (Andrew McLaughlin)
Royal Australian Air Force Dassault Falcon 7X A56-002. (Andrew McLaughlin)

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8 Comments

  • ken

    says:

    Why, in this age of twin jets, are we going to the extra cost and complexity of a tri-jet??

  • Pete

    says:

    One very good reason is that any multi-engine aircraft with more than two engines is not subject, as far as I am aware, to ETOPS restrictions.

  • Alan Ward

    says:

    I am sure that our ‘professionals’ in the RAAF have looked at every aspect of cost, range and performance before deciding on the Falcon 7X.

  • TwinTiger

    says:

    I’ve seen the stock photos of the 7X interior cabin accommodation, but is there a photo of these RAAF cabins

    • Fil

      says:

      Having flown in the aircraft I wanted to send photos to my family but was told “no inside photographs”. It didn’t matter, when I looked on line, the stock photos showed the same interior fit out, do I just sent those.

  • ken

    says:

    It’s still 3 instead of 2 engines… ie.50% more maintenance, fuel consumption. No airline could afford it these days, but it seems we, RAAF(Australia) can. Some professionals!
    So, still no answer to why pick this aircraft?

  • Wally

    says:

    Maybe there’s more to the story than just the number of engines. Parts network/availability? Military specific features maybe? Takeoff/landing performance? Triple redundancy on some systems possibly offering greater dispatch reliability?

    I’m purely hazarding a guess here. They might’ve just bought them because they look cool!

  • MrZap

    says:

    When I’m at 30Kft 3 beats 2 any day! Trust me, I’m a “human flight expert” and can confirm, flapping arms madly, like a bird does its wings….does NOT work!

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