Gasiorowski, M., "Efficient Certification of Highly Integrated and Complex Aircraft Systems, Such as Integrated Modular Avionics," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 5(1):256-261, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-2143.
There are several relatively new certification standards related to Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) certification that have recently been invoked by the certification authorities. These standards include SAE ARP-4754A, Guidelines for Development of Civil Aircraft and Systems, RTCA DO-297, Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) Development Guidance and Certification Considerations, and RTCA DO-178C, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. RTCA DO-254, Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Electronic Hardware, and TSO C153, Integrated Modular Avionics Hardware Elements, are also applicable to IMA certification. As many of these standards have only recently been invoked in Advisory Circulars by the Certification Authorities, the industry has little experience in complying with them individually, and even less experience complying with them collectively. With the current trend of increased integration, and the application of IMA architectures to systems that are not avionics, such as electric power, fly-by-wire, and air management, companies that were not previously obligated to consider “avionics” standards will be required to define new processes for their engineering organizations. Further, FAA and EASA have different positions on how these standards should be applied, adding complexity to aircraft and system development programs seeking both FAA and EASA certification. Responsibility for compliance with these standards also crosses the boundary between aircraft OEMs and system suppliers, which can add complexity to the Statement of Work and Contract negotiations between OEMs and Suppliers. Additionally, there is overlap between the standards that need to be considered when defining development plans and processes.This paper provides a brief overview of the standards, the differences in how certification authorities invoke the standards, details of the relationship and interface between these standards, and a structure for aircraft and system developers to consider in generating plans and processes to efficiently complying with all of these related standards to achieve FAA and EASA Certification.