Diehl’s experience in equipping aircraft stretches back to the 1950s when Diehl Aerospace made a name for itself as a reliable and proven partner prepared to invest intensively in new technologies and developments. The result was a range of versatile products capable of meeting the highest of military requirements. Today, Diehl Aerospace is one of the leading innovators in the field of aviation. This is how the company has grown into one of the largest suppliers of avionics systems in Germany, already leading the way in the areas of Flight Control, Engine Control, Cockpit Display Systems, Integrated Modular Avionics, and Mission and Platform Avionics.
Alongside the development and series delivery of these products, Diehl also carries out repairs for and offers after-sales support to its clients. This is what has made the company a long-term, reliable partner to its public-sector customers.
The products developed and manufactured by Diehl are used in various different aircraft, further highlighting the versatility of the company. Whether it’s for a fighter plane, transport planes, or a helicopter: all of the solutions Diehl offers have been proven through decades of use. This extensive experience is also the best foundation for future developments. Ready for the Combat System of the Future!
Diehl has actively worked with the military since contributing to various VTOL platforms in the 1960s, such as the VJ 101, Do 31, and the VAK 191B. This cooperation formed the basis for the successful development of versatile products across other platforms as well as providing the opportunity to participate in notable national and international projects. At the start of the 1970s, joint work on the Alpha Jet symbolized an important milestone in German-French cooperation; Diehl Aerospace supplied the Head-Up Display for this project, as well as many other products. And as a result, the work package for the Tornado was considerably more comprehensive. Many Diehl products have proven worthy in the cockpit, in flight control, and in engine control – and still do so to this day. Building on this success, the consortium leader for the Eurofighter program entrusted many responsibilities to the competencies of Diehl Aerospace. Versatile solutions for the cockpit, flight control, and other control systems have proven themselves time and again on board the Eurofighter.
The 1960s saw Diehl entering the world of the helicopter, as a supplier for the Bölkow Bo 105. This high-performance and still widely used multi-purpose helicopter benefits from several Diehl Aerospace products, including reliable gauges, an artificial horizon, and a yaw controller.
The Sikorsky CH-53 may rightly be called the workhorse of the army – German and many others. This freight helicopter has its beginnings in the 1960s as well, and, once again, Diehl Aerospace was right alongside it, right from the very start. Even today, Diehl Aerospace still supplies replacement parts and carries out maintenance and repair on various instruments and energy distributors.
Building on the joint experiences of working with multiple international partners and its proven technology, Diehl Aerospace was also able to successfully tender for the Tiger attack helicopter. The Eurocopter manufacturer depends on the proven core competencies of cockpit, avionics (primarily display solutions and control elements), weapons and visionic systems.
The multi-purpose NH90 helicopter is currently the rotary wing aircraft of choice, and also successfully benefits from many Diehl competencies. Most notable here are the display and helmet-mounted sight systems, mission computers, and lighting solutions.
Diehl Technology on board
Working on the Airbus A400M means Diehl is contributing to the most advanced military transport aircraft of our time, and in no small measure. Thanks to the Dual Use approach in conjunction with the Airbus A380, central systems can be used in both civil aviation and in considerably more demanding military applications. For the first time, Diehl Aerospace had the opportunity to jointly develop, alongside Thales, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) for the A400M. IMA is, essentially, the standardized computer platform for various different applications and aircraft systems.
Based on the familiar Boeing 767, it was the KC-46A (a tanker aircraft) that allowed Diehl Aerospace to enter the world of suppliers to the US military again. Boeing expanded its long-time, civil-sector partnership for cabin lighting with Diehl to include its military product range. In addition to this, Diehl supplies bespoke solutions for lighting on board the KC-46A.
Diehl Technology on board
The demand for a future-proof system to defend airspace is high. This system would need to have a comprehensive range of capabilities, including being able to network all available information via a Combat Cloud. It is this, in particular, that will prove to be a core competency: managing the large quantities of data that are accumulated in and extracted from the Combat Cloud. Processing these data in real time while meeting the high demands of availability, integrity, and security present a real challenge. In this context, it is artificial intelligence that will play a decisive role as the cornerstone for building a powerful system. The aircraft systems themselves demand particularly high-performance and reliable computers; only such computers will be able to offer the next generation of fighter planes the required degree of flexibility and independence – especially when communication with the Combat Cloud is strictly prohibited during a mission.
Diehl is well-placed to meet these challenges and ready to make its contribution to a future combat system. Just glancing at its aviation portfolio demonstrates that Diehl Aerospace has extensive experience in product development, including in the areas of Integrated Modular Avionics and Platform Avionics. Diehl’s expertise and decades of experience in product development and management – over its entire life cycle – are the best qualifications for this. It’s precisely these capabilities that will be decisive: being able to guarantee speed, availability, security, and integrity; always and everywhere.
Diehl has this experience and these competencies, and they have been proven time and again – as has its readiness to cooperate with international partners on large-scale development projects. Diehl Aerospace can look back on a long tradition of joint European ventures, with partners from France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Diehl Aerospace has been successfully working with its French partner Thales for over 30 years – and since 2001 this has officially been a Joint Venture under the management of Diehl. Both companies were responsible for introducing the first glass cockpit into an Airbus A300-600, and since then have equipped the entire Airbus civil fleet, the Airbus A400M, and the military helicopters Tiger and NH90 with Cockpit & Display Systems.
Since 2012, Diehl Aerospace has been involved in the national FCAS Master Plan (Future Combat Air System) and participated in the national FCAS/NGWS Concept Study (Next Generation Weapon System) in 2017-2018. Since 2019, Diehl Aerospace has been an active participant in the German-French Joint Concept Study (JCS) for FCAS and, together with Airbus Defence & Space and Dassault Aviation, is developing the fundamental concepts for the next generation fighters and remote carriers.
So, it's with this solid background that we can happily say we are: Ready for the Combat System of the Future – ready for FCAS!