By: Troy Troshynski
The Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) concept has been adopted into several new military and commercial aircraft programs such as the F-22, F-35, Airbus 380, and Boeing 787. The goal of the IMA concept is to reduce the number and varieties of hardware computing modules and to increase the portability of avionics software. The IMA concept is currently being driven by industry initiatives such as the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACETM) Consortium. It can also be seen in new industry standards such as ARINC 653 which defines an avionics application standard software interface. As a result of the adoption of the IMA concept, new avionics hardware modules are becoming increasingly generic, multipurpose, and reconfigurable based on the loaded software applications. Therefore, the automated test equipment (ATE) used to support maintenance and service of these new avionics systems must consider the use of standard approaches for handling loadable avionics software such as ARINC 615 and 615A software data loaders. This paper provides a brief technical overview of IMA systems and ARINC software data load protocols. It also explores strategies for integrating software data loaders into ATE systems that are required to support IMA based Units Under Test.