The first prototype flew on 7 November 1976, with French airworthiness certification on 27 February 1979, followed by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification on 7 March 1979. Dassault developed a maritime surveillance and environmental protection version as the Gardian 50
The Falcon 50 was later replaced by the Falcon 50EX, the first of which flew in 1996, and the last of which was delivered in 2008. The Falcon 50EX features improved engines and other enhancements to give further range improvements to an already long-legged jet. It remains a very popular corporate jet for its long-range, luxury, and for the recognition of status for owning a fast three-engined jet. The Falcon 50EX designation applies to serial numbers 251, and 253–352, which marks the end of the production line for the Falcon 50/50EX.
The last Falcon 50EX was built in late 2007 and delivered in early 2008.
Successors of the Falcon 50 are the Falcon 7X and the Falcon 900 featuring a larger fuselage and the same three-engine arrangement. Dassault announced in January 2008 what is essentially a replacement aircraft for the Falcon 50, codenamed the "SMS" (Super Mid Size). The basic design process, including engine select was supposed to be completed by the early 2009. However, in a June 2009 press conference, CEO Charles Edelstenne said that all design choices had been reopened and the goal was extended to the end of the year.
Dassault and Aviation Partners Inc. have announced that High Mach blended winglets were being developed for the Falcon 50 as a retrofit kit.