ISTAR Dassault Fal­con 2000LX D-BDLR

DLR operates Europe's largest fleet of research aircraft, numbering 11 aircraft in total. The newest member – a Dassault Falcon 2000LX – has been operating under the name 'In-flight Systems and Technologies Airborne Research' (ISTAR) since 31 January 2020.

With ISTAR, DLR has an airborne test platform for the study of innovative technologies, simulation of new aircraft and continuing to facilitate increasing digitalisation in the aeronautics sector. This research aircraft is essential for the development of new, efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft, engines and pilot assistance systems. ISTAR will drive the evolution of technologies that enable climate-neutral aviation.

ISTAR will first be equipped with a basic measurement system to gather a variety of flight data. Workstations will also be installed for flight test engineers to control onboard experiments and monitor in-flight parameters.

The aircraft will begin its research flights and operations in the fields of aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, structural dynamics and propulsion as part of the High speed inflight validation (HighFly) project, even during this ongoing upgrade. It will become fully operational in the mid-2020s, once all phases of the conversion are complete.

When fully upgraded, ISTAR will be able to the test flight characteristics of new aircraft designs – whether real or virtual, crewed or uncrewed – under real operating conditions. There are also plans to develop a digital twin for ISTAR – a fully digital model of the airborne test platform – which will be used to plan and track conversions, servicing, maintenance and operations.

ISTAR is available for DLR research activities and to other national and European research institutions, aircraft manufacturers and suppliers.

Current technical conversion status

  • Falcon 2000LX base with special onboard and system infrastructure for flight test experiments
  • Data collection system for in-flight acquisition of aircraft and experiment data
  • Additional flight test instruments (62 acceleration sensors and 40 strain gauges)
  • Experimental antennas for communications and navigation research

Research focus

ISTAR will be deployed in the following areas:

  • Investigation of the flight characteristics of newly developed aircraft configurations through in-flight simulation
  • Development of environmentally friendly components
  • Evaluation of pilot assistance systems ¬– for example, for automated taxiing and take-off
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeroelasticity and structural dynamics

Technical data

Dassault Falcon 2000LX 'D-BDLR'



20.2 metres


7.1 metres


21,.4 metres

Cabin length:

7.98 metres

Cabin width:

2.35 metres

Cabin height:

1.88 metres

Seats (scientific use):

maximum six (depending on cabin layout)

Unladen weight:

10.52 tonnes

Take-off weight:

maximum 19.14 tonnes


maximum je 31.13 kilonewtons per engine


maximum 7400 kilometres

Flight altitude:

maximum 14,300 metres (46,900 feet)


maximum 961 kilometres per hour

Flight duration:

up to nine hours for test operations

Fuel tank capacity:

9418 litres

Original purpose:

Development aircraft for the manufacturer Dassault Aviation

DLR Flight Operations:


Flight Experiments


Martin Gestwa

Head of Flight Facility Braunschweig
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Flight Experiments
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig

Burkhard Wigger

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Flight Experiments
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig

Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne