Since its 2008 unveiling of its G650, Gulfstream has steadily reshaped its product line — providing itself two all-new platforms off which to launch a plethora of aircraft. The original G650 flagship and the smaller G500, which was revealed in 2014, have spawned three other models and now Gulfstream is set to add two more — notionally named the G400 and G800, The Air Current has learned.
The moves the ultra-secretive U.S. business jet manufacturer are planning positions the unit of General Dynamics with two new offerings, catering to ego-driven high-speed superlative range at one end and a smaller more versatile ocean-hopping offering at the other. With Gulfstream’s flagship G700 slated to enter service in the fourth quarter of next year, the G400 and G800 answer the what’s next for the business jet manufacturer.
The arrival of both in the years to come will add further fuel to the arms race between Gulfstream, Dassault and Bombardier, newly a pure business jet manufacturer.
Business aviation has benefitted hugely in a world with a ceaseless global pandemic. The disruption to global commercial aviation has been extreme, but travel restrictions, uncertain schedules and health concerns have been a “powerful catalyst for the turbocharged recovery” following a decade of “stagnation”, writes Cowen and Company analyst Cai von Rumohr, who said new orders are outpacing deliveries by 2.2 times as part of an “an unprecedented…surge” in demand.
Gulfstream is planning an Oct. 4 announcement from its headquarters in Savannah, Ga., in the lead up to the National Business Aviation Association show the following week. The company is planning a scaled down presence at the show this year in Las Vegas.
Both the G400 and G800 are a culmination of sorts for Gulfstream, which is in a phase of harvesting the investments it has made over the past decade completely rebuilding from scratch its product lineup with new technology.
The notionally named G800 is Gulfstream’s next iteration of its G650 platform, which was unveiled by the company in 2008. As the U.S. manufacturer and its Canadian and French rivals chase the ability to connect any two points on the planet non-stop, Gulfstream added the G650ER, capable of flying 7,500 nautical miles.
Bombardier’s competing ultra-long range jet touts a range of 7,700 nautical miles, as much as a 290-seat Boeing 787-9. The Global 7500 entered service in 2018 and is the centerpiece of the company’s post-commercial aviation and train strategy. As part of its Global strategy, Bombardier had planned a Global 8000, with an eye-watering 7,900 nautical miles of range. That was put on the backburner as part of the company’s reorganization, shedding developments that threatened to overwhelm Bombardier.
Meanwhile, in France, Dassault has gained momentum on its two all-new business jets, the Falcon 6X and ultra-large 10X, virtually unveiled earlier this year. The 6X is aiming at a spot occupied by Bombardier’s smaller Global 5500 and 6500, while the flagship 10X is the company’s volley at the ultra-long range end of the marketplace.
With the G800, Gulfstream is bringing its Symmetry flight deck and other aerodynamic improvements derived from the G700 to the aircraft to recapture the title of the longest-range business jet over the Global 7500. Rolls-Royce will continue to power the G800, as it has for the previous G650 derivatives, according to several industry sources familiar with the design. The G700 is currently in flight testing and Gulfstream touts a 7,500 nautical mile range on the aircraft’s brochure, but the company historically significantly undersells its capability before it enters service.
The new G400, on the other end of the large-cabin jet market, is expected to reopen a new front against older platforms from Bombardier like its venerable Challenger 650 and Dassault’s 2000LX. It’s a segment of the now red-hot business jet market which hasn’t seen an entirely new product since the mid-1990s. While range specifications for the G400 are not yet known, segment competition would suggest a 4,000 to 4,500 nautical mile range positioned under its G500 and G600.
A shortened G500 fuselage is expected to make up the foundation for the G400 and paired with similar Pratt & Whitney PW800 engines found on its elongated siblings, according to those familiar with the design. Gulfstream in 2014 unveiled its all-new G500 and G600, previously dubbed the P42, with an all-new cockpit with electrically-linked side stick controls.
Gulfstream did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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