The paper presents a numerical study aimed at converting a commercial lightweight 2-Stroke Indirect Injection (IDI) Diesel aircraft engine to Direct Injection(DI). First, a CFD-1D model of the IDI engine was built and calibrated against experiments at the dynamometer bench. This model is the baseline for the comparison between the IDI and the DI combustion systems. The DI chamber design was supported by extensive 3D-CFD simulations, using a customized version of the KIVA-3V code. Once a satisfactory combustion system was identified, its heat release and wall transfer patterns were entered in the CFD-1D model, and a comparison between the IDI and the DI engine was performed, considering the same Air-Fuel Ratio limit. It was found that the DI combustion system yields several advantages: better take-off performance (higher power output), lower fuel consumption at cruise conditions, improved altitude performance, reduced cooling requirements. Furthermore, the injection system requirements for DI combustion can be met also by mechanical pump and injectors.