The Royal Australian Air Force has received the third and final Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, which has phased out the fleet of Bombardier CL604 Challengers for the ADF’s VIP transport requirements.
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It meets the original slated schedule of having three Falcon 7X aircraft entering service by 3Q 2019.
“Following a review, Defence will lease three new Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft to replace the three existing Bombardier CL604 Challengers,” the Department of Defence said in a release earlier in the year.
“The Falcon will have reduced operating costs, larger passenger load, modern communication capability and increased range and endurance. The Challengers are being replaced at a natural point in their ageing and maintenance cycle.”
The Falcon 7X can accommodate 12 to 16 passengers, compared with the nine maximum that the CL604 Challenger can carry.
Following the arrival of the first Falcon to the RAAF, Wing Commander Jason Pont, Commanding Officer of 34 Squadron, said, “The Falcon 7X is an advanced business jet designed and manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
“The jet has a standard crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and crew attendant) and can carry up to 14 passengers.
“With a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.9 and a range of up to 11,000 kilometres, the aircraft can fly from Canberra to anywhere in the world with only one stop. Its ability to land at almost any airfield provides notable regional and remote airfield accessibility.”
The Falcon 7X is being leased to the RAAF through National Australia Bank Global Infrastructure, as well as being sustained by Northrop Grumman Australia.
The aircraft have already been used in service, transporting Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Tuvalu in August for the Pacific Islands Forum.