Concept and Objectives:

The first generation of Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA1G) has been researched via European funded research projects; PAMELA, NEVADA and VICTORIA. This technology supported a revolutionary step away from federated architectures and their classical bespoke electronics to a modular architecture with common resources. IMA1G was introduced to the market on the A380, A400M and B787 aircraft. IMA1G replaces multiple, dissimilar equipment with fewer common processing and I/O modules, sharing high speed communication links. IMA1G has demonstrated possible implementation and derived benefits when applied to a limited number of aircraft functions for example; the number of processing units in the new A380 is half that of previous generations and a reduction in airline operating costs of between 15 and 20% is expected through significant weight reduction and maintenance savings. However IMA1G is only a first step in the evolution toward a full IMA concept The concept of the SCARLETT project is based on a shared analysis made by the European Aerospace Community, which has identified the need to undertake research leading to a new generation of IMA, defining a scalable, adaptable, reconfigurable fault-tolerant driven and secure avionics platform, namely the DME: Distributed Modular Electronics. By implementing the innovations in the DME concept, SCARLETT will progress the state-of-the-art beyond the current IMA1G in the following areas: – Scalability, portability and adaptability – Fault tolerance and reconfiguration capabilities – Minimize the number of types of standardised electronic modules – Support a full range of avionics function In addition innovations in the area of advanced processes, methods and tools to improve IMA implementation efficiency are proposed. SCARLETT will place European Industry in a strong position to offer a mature common avionics platform solution across a worldwide range of aircraft types, at entry into service.

SCARLETT Results in brief:

Next-generation avionics flying high

All current projections show air traffic continuing to increase into the foreseeable future, meaning new growth opportunities for the European aeronautics industry. With EU backing, the Scarlett project is developing better avionics systems that will take us into the flying future.

Throughout the history of aviation, onboard avionics systems – electronic systems used on aircraft – have become more numerous and more complex. Avionics are used for communications and navigation, and for the display and management of many other vital flight systems.

Early avionics solutions were based on a ‘federated architecture’, using separate dedicated hardware and software elements for specific functions. As the number of these functions has increased, manufacturers have turned towards an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) concept. Here, numerous separate and dissimilar avionics elements have been replaced by fewer and more integrated common processing modules.

The EU-funded project, ‘Scalable and reconfigurable electronics platforms and tools’ (Scarlett) is taking the next step forward, with its Distributed Modular Electronics (DME) concept. This comprises standardised hardware, communications and application interfaces that can support all aircraft functions. Furthermore, new and more complex ‘middleware’ elements enabling the smarter and more flexible configuration of avionics systems have been developed.

Scarlett researchers are covering a broad scope of items, from architecture to hardware, middleware and software, to pilot- and crew-friendly tools and procedures. As new socioeconomic and market drivers continue to emerge, Scarlett’s innovative DME concept is needed now more than ever by the aeronautics industry. New aircraft development programmes are being launched at an increasing rate, while airline operators are struggling to cut costs and reduce passenger fares.

Scarlett stands to make a real and significant contribution to the European aircraft production industry, strengthening its position in a still-growing global market.