MUNICH, 21 March 2012. Mario Araujo, director of engineering at TAP in Portugal, delivered a keynote presentation that opened the Avionics Europe conference and exhibition in Munich. “Avionics upgrades are a fact of life,” he says. “Obsolescence and technology enablers for improvements, safety and security enhancements, and environmental considerations drive the need for avionics upgrades.”
Vendors don’t create obsolescence issues; it’s a matter of microelectronics economics, Araujo explains. Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) accelerates obsolescence, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have used COTS extensively for two decades, he adds. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) was drawn to COTS because such components and systems are less expensive, less complex, and are less restrictive than stringent military specifications (MIL-SPECs).
The latest revolution in avionics is IMA, integrated modular architectures employing partitioned environments. IMA on aircraft results in weight and power savings.
Araujo went on to explain the three phases of SESAR, including: time-based operations, trajectory-based operations, and performance-based operations. The goal of SESAR is to triple air traffic capacity and increase safety by a factor of 10.
The future holds many avionics safety issues and vulnerabilities, such as: global positioning system (GPS) interference, data spikes, cyber security and aircraft domains, and HPM and EMP. “Avionics can be charged to bear its share of responsibilities,” Araujo affirms.