One of the current trends in aircraft system design is a shift from federated/centralized architectures towards a more distributed approach. The increased use of distributed processing in critical real-time control systems, such as flight control, engine control and power management systems, is creating a demand for reliable data communication networks. There are many commercially available data communication standards but very few of them will satisfy the stringent environmental requirements of an aircraft, such as lightning immunity.MIL-STD-1553, which is well established in military aircraft, is a leading candidate for use in new commercial aircraft systems.  Airbus selected MIL-STD-1553 for use in the flight control system on the A-350XWB. MIL-STD-1553's physical layer was designed specifically for use in aircraft and as such it provides superior noise, EMI, and lightning immunity which are all essential elements of a reliable aircraft data network. This paper discusses the architectural benefits of 1 Mbps MIL-STD-1553 as it relates to an aircraft environment as well as extensions to MIL-STD-1553 which include faster data rates and its use with alternate protocols. The viability of a MIL-STD-1553 physical layer with an alternate protocol will be illustrated by technology demonstration hardware consisting of a TTP (Time Triggered Protocol) controller running with a MIL-STD-1553 physical layer at 4 Mbps.MIL-STD-1553's robust physical layer combined with emerging high speed derivatives serve as an ideal set of building blocks for a variety of aircraft applications. The superior isolation performance of MIL-STD-1553 makes it an extremely attractive solution for applications with severe EMI and lightning environments. Decades of in service flight history support the notion that MIL-STD-1553 is well suited for critical real-time systems such as flight controls. The use of MIL-STD-1553 on the A350 aircraft is a testament to 1553's effectiveness for use in real-time, high assurance systems. MIL-STD-1553 is a mature, field proven technology that provides an ideal solution for emerging commercial aerospace applications.