Multi function multi mode digital avionics mmda
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Multi-Function Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA). NASA Glenn Research Center – End of FY05 Status Presented to ICAO ACP WGC-11 GRC/James Budinger September 20, 2006. Multi-Function Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA). Objective

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Multi-Function Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA)

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Multi function multi mode digital avionics mmda

Multi-Function Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA)

NASA Glenn Research Center – End of FY05 Status

Presented to ICAO ACP WGC-11

GRC/James Budinger

September 20, 2006

Multi function multi mode digital avionics mmda1

Multi-Function Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA)

  • Objective

    • Develop and demonstrate in a relevant environment a Multi-function, Multi-mode Digital Avionics (MMDA) prototype that illustrates lower total system cost and faster certification and re-certification process

      • Multi-mode: The integration of similar modes of operation of a single avionics C,N, or S function

      • Multi-function: The integration of multiple CNS functions

Mmda rationale

MMDA Rationale

  • Rationale for a new approach:

    • Existing certification methodologies are expensive and based on proprietary methodologies

      • A new, cost-effective methodology to certify avionics is needed for both initial and subsequent for added waveforms (reduced maintenance cost)

    • Software defined avionics are a technology enabler for migration of mobile network centric operations into the NAS

      • MMDA can serve as an agent of change enabling transitional architectures, network enabled operations, and NGATS concepts

Mmda approach

MMDA Approach

  • NASA/FAA/Industry joint venture:

    • Work with avionics industry partners and standards bodies/working groups and certification authorities

    • Develop an open hardware and software MMDA architecture for civil aviation applications

    • Design and develop an MMDA prototype for a selected suite of CNS functions and/or modes in a relevant environment

    • Validate and demonstrate compliance with redundancy, certification, security and safety standards and requirements

Pathfinder mmda prototype

Pathfinder MMDA Prototype

Classes aircraft, reduce equipage, functions and modes, etc …

Concept of Use


State of art, commercial tech., fault mitigation and graceful degradation, etc …

Barriers to market entry, 2012-2020 context





Open Architecture


Business Case




Leverage open source and JTRS architectures,

Flexible and open based architecture, etc …

Aware of standards and working groups,

path towards modular certification,

reduce cert. and re-cert. costs, etc ...

Work with FAA on methodology developed,

validate design and methodology, etc …

Open architecture challenges

Open Architecture Challenges

  • A flexible, open and extendable architecture must:

    • Lower total system cost and reduce time for certification and re-certification

    • Address the number of waveforms (both new and legacy) that are beginning to overwhelm ability to fit aircraft with new capabilities

    • Leverage best commercial standards and innovations in implementation as they emerge over time

    • Provide flexibility for users to decide which capabilities they need and when

Mmda notional architecture

MMDA Notional Architecture





RF Front






Legacy Interface






Mmda accomplishments project terminated at end of fy05

MMDA Accomplishments(Project terminated at end of FY05)

  • Contracted preliminary assessment and analysis

    • See multiple contractor technical reports under the “Resources” tab at the ACAST Website:

  • Established government and industry contacts

    • AEEC, FAA, DOD JTRS program office, RTCA SC-200 working groups and standards bodies, and Boeing, Honeywell, and Rockwell Collins

  • Initiated and chaired the Avionics Special Interest Group under SDR (Software Defined Radio) Forum

    • See avionics SIG vision, goals and glossary documents under “Document Library” tab at

Mmda plan forward

MMDA Plan Forward

  • Seek new government sponsor and select industry partner(s)

  • Coordinate with FAA and Eurocontrol on Flexible Onboard Architecture efforts

  • Invite comments and suggestions to proceed

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