Thales, Airbus and Diehl Aerospace have entered a trilateral agreement to jointly develop the central flight control system of CityAirbus NextGen.

CityAirbus NextGen is the electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL), which is currently being developed by Airbus and is expected to make its first journey in 2023.

Thales will develop the primary computing system while Diehl will be responsible for the development of the secondary flight control computer.

The second flight control computer will oversee the data of the primary computer system and have the ability to take over the flight control.

The developments will be supported by public funding from the German and French governments.

Flight control systems help calculate and adjust the position of the aircraft’s control surfaces while handling engine thrust.

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Conventional mechanical systems are now being replaced by electrical flight control systems, which provides security and a reduced aircraft weight.

Diehl Aviation CEO Josef Köcher said: “eVTOLs will be a key part of mobility in the future 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.

“We see a trend-setting partnership in the close collaboration with Airbus and Thales for the reliability and safety of the CityAirbus.”

The complete electric CityAirbus NextGen will be able to accommodate up to four passengers in a zero-emissions flight in numerous applications.

With the capacity to operate with an 80km range, CityAirbus will be able to attain a cruise speed of 120km/h.

It will be designed for hover and cruise efficiency and will not need moving surfaces or tilting parts during a changeover.

Last month, Thales won a new contract from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh to modernise the latter’s nationwide air traffic management system.