Airbus, Thales and Diehl Join Forces for Development of Flight Control for the CityAirbus NextGen
The companies have received the first order for the development of flight control computers for the CityAirbus NextGen.
Diehl Aerospace, jointly with Airbus and Thales, have signed a trilateral agreement on the development and supply of the flight control computers for the new CityAirbus NextGen. For Diehl’s part, the order includes the secondary flight control computer for the fully electrically powered CityAirbus NextGen.
The system ensures that a second, independent flight control computer monitors the data of the primary computer system permanently, and it can generally also take over the flight control itself. Partner Thales is responsible for the primary computing system. Based on this dissimilar concept of the two flight control computers, the required standard of operating safety under a later EASA approval is reached. The central part of Diehl’s computer platform is the Remote Computing Module (RCM). The computer platform enables multifunctional applications beyond the pure flight control and thereby achieves a high-performance, scalable, expandable and cost-optimised solution.
Diehl Aerospace, a joint venture of the French partner Thales and Diehl Aviation, has many decades of experience in avionics for civil and military aircraft and helicopters. This expertise is particularly relevant in the development project for the CityAirbus NextGen. After all, the limited installation space and the strict requirements for low weight and low energy consumption represent a special challenge. For modern eVTOLs, therefore, new approaches are required in the system architecture.
The fully electric CityAirbus NextGen was revealed in September 2021 at the Airbus Sustainability Summit. It is equipped with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail, and eight electrically powered propellers as part of its distributed propulsion system. It is designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero emissions flight in multiple applications. CityAirbus is being developed to fly with a 80 km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h, making it perfectly suited for operations in major cities for a variety of missions. It is optimized for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during transition. Designed with simplicity in mind, CityAirbus NextGen will offer best-in-class economic performance in operations and support. Its first flight is planned for 2023. Airbus is developing a UAM solution with eVTOLS not only to offer a new mobility service for urban areas but also as a first step in its quest to reduce emissions in aviation all over its product range.
“I'm delighted to announce today the first system partnership for the development of our CityAirbus NextGen” said Jörg Müller, Head of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) at Airbus. “UAM is a joint effort. Nobody can do it alone. Airbus is reaching out to potential partners from the industry to design and build an optimised vehicle for safe and efficient air transport in urban environments. With Thales and Diehl, we are proud to have two excellent partners with a lot of expertise on board.”
"We are thrilled to see that our close cooperation with Airbus and Diehl is once again delivering concrete results through an agreement that will add a whole new dimension to air mobility," said Yannick Assouad, Thales Executive Vice President, Avionics. "With this safe and innovative flight control solution, we are working together to build an airspace environment we can all trust."
"In the future, eVTOLs will be a key part of mobility and will enormously enrich it – in our cities but also beyond. For this, the safe operation of the innovative aircraft, of course, plays an essential role”, said Josef Köcher, CEO at Diehl Aviation. “We see a trend-setting partnership in the close collaboration with Airbus and Thales for the reliability and safety of the CityAirbus. We are proud to be on board with our expertise, and we are looking forward to seeing the CityAirbus in the skies soon."
*eVTOL = electric vertical take-off and landing
About Diehl Aviation
Diehl Aviation is a division of Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG and combines all aviation activities of Diehl Group under one roof. In the aviation industry, Diehl Aviation – including Diehl Aerospace (a joint venture with Thales) is a leading system supplier of aircraft system and cabin solutions. Diehl Aviation currently has more than 4,000 employees. Its clients include leading aircraft manufacturers Airbus (both airplanes and helicopters), Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, manufacturers of eVTOL aircraft as well as airlines and operators of commercial and business aircraft worldwide.