Case Study 2012-2017. Research Project ASHLEY



Project Brief

The ASHLEY (Avionics Systems Hosted on a distributed modular electronics Large scale DEmonstrator for multiple tYpes of aircraft) project has been initiated as a follow on to the EC-funded SCARLETT project and in answer to a requirement from European Air framers for a more competitive, multiple type aircraft, IMA (Integrated Modular Avionics) based, avionics platform solution.

The goal of the work within ASHLEY is to build upon the foundations laid in SCARLETT, and multiple other projects hosted across Europe, in state-of-the-art areas where innovations are likely to maximise the benefits of DME (Distributed Modular Electronics) growth potential.

  • Extension of DME concepts and solutions to other aircraft domains, notably the open world domain.
  • Common remote I/O resources typology including high integrity, time critical remote solutions.
  • Multi-domains, secured Data Distribution services to streamline aircraft data distribution.
  • Development of an efficient system designer oriented IMA2G Tooling Framework solution that remains compliant with IMA2G industrial and certification constraints.
  • Development of a generation of digital Smart actuators and sensors based on new advanced photonics technologies.

Smart Fibres participation in the ASHLEY project is to build upon knowledge gained in the development of the Universal Interrogator for the AUSTIN project (LINK) providing the hardware and software that will interface between multiple types of photonic sensors and the IMA2G electronics system.



In ASHLEY we have developed new sensors and associated interrogation hardware platform. 

Fuel Temperature Probe
The Fuel Temperature Probe is a passive optical sensor comprising 10 measurement points spaced over a meter length. It can be used to measure the temperature profile of fuel in the aircraft fuel tank.
- No electronics or optical power sources in fuel tank
- All components resistant to Jet fuel
- Hermetically sealed fibre connection through tank wall
- Ten sensing points on a single, light weight fibre cable
- Completely immune to EMI
- Sensors can be located 100’s of metres from the interrogator without the need for amplification
- Developed to TRL 6 in ASHLEY and installed in the Fuel System Demonstrator at Airbus UK

Optical Interrogator Module
Can interrogate both Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) and Fabry-Perot (F-P) sensor technologies, for temperature, strain, pressure, acceleration, proximity and rotational velocity.
- Located in a ‘Blade’ avionics rack, remote from the sensors.
- Integrates with AcQ carrier card that provides measurement data via an AFDX interface.
- 8 output fibre channels allows connection of up to 50 FBG sensors per fibre or 1 F-P sensor per fibre.
- Robust electronics and optics based on flight proven technology.
- Developed to TRL 5 in ASHLEY and to be installed in the Fuel System Demonstrator at Airbus UK.

Proximity and Tachometer Sensors
Two further FBG sensors are under development and expected to reach TRL4 by the end of the ASHLEY programme. Both use magneto-strictive material and a magnetic actuator to exercise the sensor. Potential application areas on aircraft include the landing gear where electrical proximity and tachometer measurements in such an ultra-harsh environment are problematic.


Images below

Middle: Fuel temperature probe

Right:  Optical Interrogator Module


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