The Diehl Aerospace Center of Excellence for symbol generation develops state-of-the-art technologies for graphic generation and processing. The display systems can be found in the cockpits of many passenger aircraft, such as in the Cockpit and Display System (CDS) and the Onboard Airport Navigation System (OANS) of the Airbus A380. The Helmet-Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) and Operator Control Panel (OCP) for the NH90 and Tiger helicopters demonstrate the possible fields of application for these technologies in the military field too.
The central data processing and display unit in the cockpit of the A380 is a cockpit and display system that was developed in cooperation with the system manufacturer Thales. This system is the central interface between man and machine. All relevant information can be displayed for the pilot via a total of eight units, each of which comprises a liquid crystal display and a graphics computer. For the first time, the CDS is operated using a keyboard and trackball, thus ensuring full interactivity. This system is an enhancement of the Electronic Instrument System (EIS), which was also developed by Diehl Aerospace and Thales and is deployed in every A320, A330, and A340 type of Airbus. Compared to its predecessor, however, the new Cockpit and Display System in the A380 offers a whole range of innovations and represents another step towards the paperless cockpit.
The airport navigation system, OANS, displays the destination airport selected by the pilot in the form of a digital map in the cockpit. OANS is a valuable aid while taxiing, especially when the pilot is unfamiliar with the airport or visibility is limited. This airport navigation system significantly increases safety, reduces effective taxiing time, and, consequently, also costs.
The binocular helmet visor, HMSD, with its 40° field of vision, is currently being used in the NH90 and Tiger helicopters. Its powerful graphics and processor board as well as the relevant computers were developed in close cooperation with the system manufacturer, Thales, and help to control the helicopter as well as deploy weapons systems. Besides primary flight guidance information, images from infrared cameras or data provided by helmet-mounted sensors can also be projected directly onto the visor. Furthermore, an image intensifier can be fitted to the helmet for night-time operations. The communal hardware and software architecture for the 2D graphics applications was developed by Diehl Aerospace. This solution also includes tools for generating an automatic software code.
The three letters OCP represent an integrated computer display system that is also used in the Tiger helicopter. This provides a number of controls for monitoring and displaying the weapons control system. The OCP also controls a visualization system comprising a nose and mast camera as well as the pilot's FLIR visor. The OCP consists of two weapons control systems (ACP) and two visualization systems (VCP), which communicate with the Armament Mission Control Symbol Generator (AMCSG). It uses the latest LED technology for illuminating the controls and for backlighting the LCDs.
With their Flight Control Unit, Thales and Diehl Aerospace have succeeded in establishing an intelligent interface between the pilot, autopilot, and electronic display system in the cockpit.