Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) describes the principle of standardizing components and interfaces in hardware and software for the optimized integration of different system, control, and monitoring applications on one common computer platform.
The principles of standardization and multiple use of functional units are applied here by combining computing as well as input and output functions to produce a standardized computer platform (IMA). Since the computer resources are partitioned at varying times, it is possible to integrate several different control and monitoring applications on one computer platform. This development of specific partial solutions favors a more efficient use of the hardware and its resources. This is reflected in a reduction in weight, the resulting lower fuel consumption, as well as in declining operational and maintenance costs.
The Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) system was developed in cooperation with Thales and is deployed for the first time on the Airbus A380. Further aircraft types in which the IMA is used are the A350 XWB and the military transport aircraft A400M. The IMA has been enhanced for the A400M in line with its military requirements and therefore has a ruggedized design to resist higher vibration levels. It also features more effective electromagnetic compatibility and has been adapted to provide the necessary lightning protection.
The Common Remote Data Concentrator (CRDC) and the heart of the IMA, the Core Processing Input/Output Module (CPIOM), serve as the two main computing units within the IMA system unit for the long-range, wide-bodied Airbus A350 XWB. The CRDC is an avionics unit generally installed outside of the avionics compartment. It concentrates data from analog and discrete signals remotely (i.e. in proximity to associated sensors and actuators) and then communicates this data to computer processing resources on the aircraft. Using new technologies, the CRDC replaces a significant number of input/ output units previously specific for each on-board application. The CRDCs will be developed and manufactured by Diehl Aerospace in conjunction with Thales.
The data streams of many avionics functions, such as those for air conditioning, cockpit data communication and air-to-ground data routing, electrical power supply, fuel management, landing gear, brakes, and steering can be processed via the Integrated Modular Avionics system. The principle of standardization is applied to ensure smooth and secure communication between the different systems. A standardized data communication bus is provided based on the IMA and the Avionic Full Duplex Switched Ethernet System (AFDX) data transmission standard. The AFDX bus supports a data transfer rate of 100 Mbits/s as well as a multitude of end systems (up to 5,000 service access ports at full data transfer speed).