Logo WTD 61

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61

Below you can find detailed information about the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment in Manching, Bavaria. Learn more about its tasks, responsibilities and organizational structure, get contact details and directions.

Mission of WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61

The Bundeswehr Technical Center for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61) plays a crucial role in ensuring that all aircraft in service are safe and comply with their performance parameters.

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is tasked with conducting ground and flight tests of equipment developed by the defense industry on behalf of the Bundeswehr. This includes the qualification and technical evaluation of all newly developed flying systems of the Bundeswehr and of modifications carried out on aircraft already in service. The data is evaluated in terms of the aircraft’s performance, its properties as well as its fitness to participate in general air traffic (traffic safety, airworthiness).

To fulfill this mission, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 represents Bundeswehr interests in all national and international programs involving military, manned and unmanned aviation. On both a national and international level, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 maintains close connections with other technical and military centers, test centers, companies, research institutes and universities and program offices. 

Aerial view of the facility including runway

Bundeswehr Technical Center for Bundeswehr Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61) in Manching

Bundeswehr/WTD 61


Unique characteristics of WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61

Infrastructure for test flights

Its own flight operations play a key role in maintaining both the agency’s required independence from manufacturers and the necessary independent assessment and advisory capability of the Bundeswehr regarding procurement of aircraft. For this reason, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 operates its own test air base including all required test facilities. It also has its own flight-restricted area where even unmanned systems can be operated safely.

Test flights place high demands on WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s infrastructure. The most important features of Manching air base are:

Instrumented test aircraft

To perform its tasks successfully, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 must operate its own instrumented test aircraft. All aircraft types to be evaluated are available as test vehicles at WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61, especially those that are used in deployment areas. They come equipped with state-of-the-art aircraft instrumentation systems, or they are prepared and fitted with the required measuring equipment by WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 depending on the trials task in question.
At WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 these test aircraft are used to test flight characteristics and flight performance as well as all subsystems including armament and armament control systems.

Front view of a Tornado fighter jet

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s fully instrumented Tornado with tail number 98+79 on the apron of “Vidsel Air Base” in Sweden during test and evaluation of Laser Guided Sidewinder

Bundeswehr/WTD 61

At WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 the following test aircraft are available:

  • Eurofighter and Tornado combat aircraft
  • Transall C160 transport aircraft, soon A400M
  • Tiger combat helicopter, CH-53 transport helicopter, Bell UH-1D light utility helicopter, light support helicopter as well as a specifically instrumented research and technology helicopter

Metrological Installations and Measuring Devices for Flight Tests

Modern metrological installations and measuring methods as well as real time data evaluation are basic requirements for the different tests and evaluations conducted at WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61.

The laboratories and test rigs at WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 are often equipped with complex state-of-the-art metrological equipment. They are used for data collection as well as for data transfer, preparation and processing.

EA dummy equipped with measuring sensors sitting by the door of a helicopter

Not only dummies are fitted with measuring sensors, but also the light support helicopter itself

Bundeswehr/WTD 61

TD 61 does not only have onboard and ground-based measuring devices at its disposal, but also various types of optical and electronic measuring equipment that allow high-precision flight path and position tracking. These include, for instance, cinetheodolites and a GPSGlobal Positioning System tracking system with multiple-target detection and DGPSDifferential Global Positioning System capability. 

Personnel for test flights

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s own personnel with completed special flight test training participates in the agency’s flight tests and campaigns. The personnel generally includes:

  • Flight test engineers
  • Specialized engineers
  • Technicians
  • Test pilots
  • Weapons system officers
  • Test load masters
  • Flight engineers
Six men wearing pilot uniforms sitting around a table during a meeting

Meeting of all participants prior to a flight test. Pictured here are flight test engineers, test pilots, flight engineers and airworthiness inspectors

Bundeswehr/WTD 61

Intensive flight preparation is required during test phases. Naturally, all participants cooperate closely. The campaigns that take place at regular intervals and are often several weeks long are especially time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Test and evaluation of aircraft armaments

A major part of procurement and development is to demonstrate compliance with contractual provisions when integrating aircraft armaments and effectors.

Ascending helicopter

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s Tiger attack helicopter during the testing of 70 mm rockets in Putlos

Bundeswehr/WTD 61

It is therefore necessary to test the performance of the overall system, and thus to render support during the preparation of the approval for service use. This applies to all airborne weapon systems of the Bundeswehr (i.e., (manned and unmanned) rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft) until they are decommissioned following the end of their in-service life. The required compliance tests regularly take place on or over foreign test sites due to space constraints and national restrictions in Germany.

National Center of Expertise for UASUnmanned Aerial System

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is expanding its competencies in the field of unmanned aerial systems in order to improve and broaden its testing and evaluation capabilities even further.

Two airborne drones in front of a hangar

Two of the test drones at the drone detection radar in front of the Otto Lilienthal Aircraft Hangar at WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 during an R&T project on UAVUnmanned Aerial Vehicle traffic management and drone detection.

Bundeswehr/WTD 61

The newly established National Center of Expertise for UASUnmanned Aerial System acts as a central point of contact for technical matters related to unmanned aerial systems in the Bundeswehr. The focus of its own technical expertise lies on the overall system level of unmanned aircraft and the integration of individual systems into the overall system. To accomplish these tasks, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 maintains close connections with other experts in the field of UASUnmanned Aerial System-related aspects in the Bundeswehr and actively seeks to strengthen these relationships. Furthermore, the Center of Expertise for UASUnmanned Aerial System is meant to play a central role with regard to Bundeswehr R&T activities in connection with UASUnmanned Aerial System-specific projects.

The National Center of Expertise for UASUnmanned Aerial System also supports the establishment of the “Drone Innovation Hub” (DIH), which will initially fall into WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s area of responsibility. As an important link between the Bundeswehr and start-up companies with particular focus on drones, the DIH is supposed to quickly implement innovative drone-related developments on behalf of the Bundeswehr.

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 Tasks

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s main task is testing and evaluating Bundeswehr aircraft and aeronautical equipment. This includes the implementation of demanding and complex flight test projects on the ground and in flight as well as the evaluation of the collected data from an engineering standpoint. From this, the following task areas are derived:

Conducting compliance tests is one of the main tasks of WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61.

Compliance tests are particularly relevant with regard to functionality and feasibility of proposed solutions during the procurement process.
Aircraft and aeronautical equipment including their subsystems are also tested for functionality, performance and airworthiness during development and in-service use. They are, however, also tested for their reliability, maintainability and testability.

Compliance tests are also of great importance in terms of engineer-specific information, technical compliance with contractual provisions and cooperation with industries for equipment and systems.

The constant modernization of Bundeswehr aircraft in terms of software and armaments as well as navigational and protective equipment requires expert knowledge, expertise and the opportunity to conduct flight tests. Capability enhancements such as airdropping procedures also need to be tested at regular intervals. Thanks to its facilities and qualified personnel, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 can fulfill its tasks successfully.

The Bundeswehr is able to meet its demand for aircraft mostly with the help of new developments of commissioned aircraft manufacturers.

Whether the requirements are met and the required performance is achieved is examined under a variety of aspects. WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 contributes greatly to the selection process by providing flight test expertise, for instance.

Aircraft undergo regular maintenance at the manufacturer. Following that, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s test aircrews are often involved in the performance of all required in-flight function checks prior to delivery/return to the troops.

The requirements of deployed troops must often be implemented as soon as possible. The expertise and quick support provided by WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 are often crucial for the implementation of these requirements.

In the field of “Research and Technology”, the agency’s tasks include planning and coordinating the technology fields “drive systems” and “navigation” as well as implementing all projects related to these fields.

This means that WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is also responsible for coordinating projects in all other aviation technology fields and for supporting a number of projects with the help of the agency’s test facilities and by providing flight test expertise.

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61’s own air base in Manching must be operated and maintained with all of its test equipment to ensure that all flight tests can be performed smoothly and, even more importantly, safely. The complex testing infrastructure requires a considerable amount of expert knowledge in a variety of fields.

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is one of the Bundeswehr’s largest vocational training centers in the aeronautical field. Every year, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 offers young people civilian training posts as aircraft mechanics and equipment and system electronics technicians.

Upon completion of their exceptional training, these young experts in their field will have the opportunity to work in a variety of areas at WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61. Naturally, this will also open many doors for them in the entire Bundeswehr or they will have the opportunity to undergo further training.

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 Organizational Structure

WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is organized into a staff element, four divisions, an engineering and operational services element and an economic and administrative services element. In addition to that and with a view to implementing European standardization requirements, WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 is creating a “Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation” (CAMOContinuing Airworthiness Management Organisation) in accordance with the new requirements of the “German Military Airworthiness Regulations” (DEMARGerman Airworthiness Requirements), and it is establishing the implementation organization for the aeronautical engineering development organization. 

The staff element includes essential economic control elements of an agency, for instance task planning as well as cost and performance responsibility. Infrastructure, flight safety and standardization also fall into the staff element’s area of responsibility.

The operational branches of the agency are included in the four divisions “Airfield Operations”, “Flight Tests”, “Overall Systems and Propulsion Systems” and “Mission Systems and Avionics”. The technical and trial-specific tasks as well as research & technology projects are mainly conducted in these divisions.

Maintenance and repairs of all WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 aircraft as well as vocational training, operational services and quality assurance are some of the core elements of the Engineering and Operational Services element, but its tasks also include ITInformationstechnik services, logistics and materiel management. The Economic and Administrative Services element is responsible for the agency’s administrative elements.

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How to get to WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61

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The Bundeswehr Technical Center for Aircraft and Aeronautical Equipment (WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61) is located in the vicinity of Manching, a town of about 10,000 inhabitants in Upper Bavaria, about 10 km to the south-east of Ingolstadt and about 70 km to the north of Munich.

Take Autobahn A 9. Leave A 9 at the "Manching" exit (No. 63) and take the B 16 towards Regensburg. Then follow the signs to WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 Airfield ("Flugplatz") and "Airbus".

Note: Do not follow the signposts leading to the civilian airfield/IMA.

Take the train to Ingolstadt-Hauptbahnhof. Since public transportation to our agency is rather complicated, please contact us in due time so we can pick you up at Ingolstadt-Hauptbahnhof.

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