In this paper the development of thermal sprayed, hard phase reinforced aluminum based layers, in particular for coating light metal substrates is described. The aim of the project was to obtain wear resistant coatings for applications on light metal surfaces combined with other advantageous characteristics, especially good thermal conductivity. One possible application for these coatings can be seen in automotive light weight constructions as wear protection for brake discs or drums. Flame shock spraying as well as high velocity oxyfuel flame spraying (HVOF) were used as coating processes. As consumables mechanically alloyed powders consisting of aluminum and ferric oxide were used. Due to the high kinetic process energy developed by the selected procedures in connection with the exothermically reacting spraying material, a new light metal matrix composite was produced. One major advantage of this coating material is the in-situ synthesis of the hard particles in the aluminum matrix during the spray process resulting in good adhesion/cohesion properties. This research project includes an extensive analysis of the consumables including differential thermal analysis, SEM, and EDX. Furthermore, process parameters were optimized. This includes a characterization of the HVOF process using modern particle diagnostics. Besides good bonding properties proven coating characteristics are high thermal conductivity and thermal shock resistance as well as good wear behavior even at elevated temperatures. The results show that the developed coating system is a promising alternative for cast aluminum matrix composite materials used for wear stressed parts even at elevated temperatures.