Gulfstream Aerospace has unveiled a pair of new twinjets—the G400 and G800—that will bookend each side of its large-cabin jet family and expand that line to six aircraft, beyond the G500, G600, G650ER, and G700. Announced this evening amid fanfare during a ceremony at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Georgia headquarters, the 4,200-nm G400 derived from the G500/600 fills the gap between the super-midsize G280 and G500, while the 8,000-nm G800 that descends from the G650ER throws down a new gauntlet for range in its category.
Three G800s are slated to take part in flight testing, with the first—dubbed T1—already having been rolled out. That aircraft began taxiing under its own power last month in Savannah. Plans call for first flight by year-end. Meanwhile, the G400 is slated to begin flight testing in early 2023.
With the flagship G700 set to enter service in about a year, the two new aircraft are the culmination of Gulfstream’s focus on continuous R&D spending and answers the question of what’s next for the business jet manufacturer. The G400 and G800—slated for service entry in early 2025 and 2023, respectively—also mark the development of the fifth and sixth new aircraft over the past eight years at Gulfstream, according to company president Mark Burns.
“I can’t remember a time when we’ve been so forward-looking than now here at Gulfstream,” he said. “Research and development are a real strength of the company. Thanks to our parent company, General Dynamics, we’ve been able to provide steady funding for aircraft R&D in the last 15 years at Gulfstream. Other manufacturers are only trying to catch up to what Gulfstream is doing.”
Burns added that both new models were long planned for—the G400 was envisioned when the G500 and G600 were announced in October 2014, and the G800 was conceived when the G700 was launched two years ago. “I’ve had to keep these models secret for years, so it’s a relief to finally be able to talk about them publicly,” he said.
When the G800 eventually replaces the G650ER, all of Gulfstream’s large-cabin jets will have common flight decks—notably Honeywell Epic-based Symmetry avionics and BAE Systems active control sidesticks—that will make it easier for pilots to transition between these fly-by-wire aircraft. Further easing training requirements, the G400 through G600 will have a common pilot type rating; the G700 and G800 will also have a common pilot rating.
In addition, the G400, G500, and G600 will share the same tail and fuselage cross-section but have slightly different variants of the Pratt & Whitney PW800-series engine. All three of these jets will be made at the Northwest manufacturing facility at Gulfstream’s Savannah campus.
Meanwhile, the G700 and G800 will share a wing, tail, and fuselage cross-section, in addition to the Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 turbofans, which are on track to receive FAA certification early next year. These ultra-long-range airplanes will be manufactured at the current G650ER production facility in Savannah; G650ER production is in the process of being moved a few doors down to the former G450/550 manufacturing facility.
The $34.5 million G400 will be the entry point into Gulfstream's large-cabin family. (Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace)
ENTRY-LEVEL LARGE-CABIN G400
Priced at $34.5 million (2021 $), the G400 will act as the entry-level product in Gulfstream’s large-cabin jet family. It will have seating for up to 12 passengers in three zones and an aft lavatory, though a two-zone, nine-seat configuration option will have both forward and aft lavatories. Berthable seats can sleep up to five passengers, the aircraft manufacturer said.
Ten of Gulfstream’s signature wide oval windows will provide ample natural light in the nearly 42.5-foot-long cabin. Passengers will also have plenty of room in the 1,441-cu-ft cabin, also thanks to its 6.25-foot height and 7.6-foot width. For added comfort, the G400 will have a 3,255-foot cabin altitude at FL410.
For pilots, the G400’s Symmetry flight deck will be well equipped, including an optional head-up display with a new combined vision system that will allow for landing in low-visibility conditions. As an added layer of safety, the twinjet will also have the predictive landing system, which displays the aircraft’s energy state while on approach and relates that to how much runway length is needed and available to land. If the predicted landing distance exceeds the available runway length, the system will visually and aurally warn the pilots to go around.
At 86.25 feet, the exterior length of the G400 is about 10 feet shorter than its G500 sibling. Exterior height is 25.33 feet, while the jet’s new wing will have an 86.33-foot span, also 10 feet shorter than the G500.
Power will come from two 13,496-pound-thrust PW812GA turbofans, which offer 22 percent lower emissions than other engines in its class and meet Stage 5 noise limits. The G400 will be able to climb directly to 41,000 feet, according to Gulfstream. Maximum cruise altitude is planned to be 51,000 feet.
The twinjet will be able to fly 4,200 nm at Mach 0.85 or 3,950 nm at Mach 0.88, in either case allowing nonstop flights from New York to Los Angeles, Lima, Brasilia, Dakar, London, or Moscow. From London, the G400 will be able to go nonstop to New York, Barbados, Lagos, Nairobi, or Delhi. Mmo is expected to be Mach 0.90.
With a mtow of 69,580 pounds, the airplane will have a 5,000-foot takeoff distance (SL, ISA), according to Gulfstream. Other preliminary weights include 47,150-pound max zero fuel, 4,050-pound max payload, and 25,350-pound max fuel.
Boasting the longest range of any currently announced business jet, the $71.5 million G800 will have the same fuselage as the G650ER but borrows many of the elements designed for the G700. That included the cabin seats, cabinetry, and lighting, in addition to the aforementioned Symmetry flight deck, wing, tail, and Rolls engines.
The jet will be able to seat up to 19 passengers and sleeps 10 when outfitted with four living areas, or up to 15 passengers with three living areas and a crew compartment. Both configurations include forward and aft lavatories and a galley for food preparation, though the galley is larger when opting to include the crew rest area.
It retains the original interior dimensions of the G650ER: 53.6-foot length, 6.25-foot height, 8.2-foot width, and 2,138 cabin volume. Equally, it will have the same 16 large oval cabin windows as its predecessor. Cabin altitude will be 2,916 feet when flying at 41,000 feet.
For pilots, the flight deck will be identical to that of the G700, including Symmetry, dual head-up displays with combined vision system, and predictive landing performance system.
Externally, the G800 shares the G650ER’s 99.75-foot length, but that’s where the similarities end. At 103 feet, the new jet’s wingspan is about 3.5 feet longer than its predecessor and matches that exactly of the G700. The G800’s tail height is two inches shorter, at 25.5 feet.
The G800’s Pearl 700 engines are each rated at 18,250 pounds of thrust, matching the powerplants on its G700 sibling. Compared with the G650’s Rolls BR725 engines, the Pearl 700s are 18 percent more fuel-efficient, Gulfstream said.
The G800’s mtow will be 105,600 pounds, though the aircraft manufacturer noted that there will be an option to temporarily lower this to less than 100,000 pounds for operations at weight-restricted fields such as New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport. Other weights include 60,500-pound zero fuel, 6,200-pound max payload, and 49,400-pound max fuel.
According to preliminary performance data from Gulfstream, the G800 will have a Mach 0.925 Mmo and 51,000-foot maximum ceiling. Takeoff distance at mtow (SL, ISA) is projected to be 6,000 feet.
The G800’s class-leading 8,000-nm range will be achieved at a Mach 0.85 long-range cruise speed. It will be able to fly 7,000 nm at Mach 0.90 high-speed cruise. From New York, either speed option will yield a nonstop link to Shanghai, Tahiti, Punta Arenas, Johannesburg, or Mumbai. Thus, Gulfstream’s Burns believes many operators will opt to fly at high-speed cruise for many missions.
Departing Hong Kong, the G800 will be capable of flying nonstop at either speed to London, Moscow, Rabat, Perth, Sydney, Los Angeles, or New York. But to make Hong Kong to Lagos nonstop, the G800 will need to fly at the slightly slower Mach 0.85.
While the G800 is intended to replace the G650ER, Burns said the latter jet—priced in the low $60 million range—will remain as a part of Gulfstream’s line-up for the foreseeable future as a “value” airplane. He noted that the backlog for this model still remains strong, to the point where production has even been ramped up this year from earlier projections.
“We will continue to build G650ERs for as long as there is customer demand,” Burns added, stressing that there is no set end date for production of this twinjet.