Avionics Industry Standards DO-178B and DO-178C

DO-178B

The purpose of RTCA DO-178B / EUROCAE ED-12B is to provide “guidance for determining, in consistent manner and with an acceptable level of confidence, that the software aspects of airborne systems and equipment comply with airworthiness requirements.” The guidance comprises:

  • Objectives related to the various software life cycle processes
  • Activities for achieving these objectives
  • Artifacts (life cycle data) demonstrating that the objectives have been met

The document discusses those aspects of airworthiness certification that pertain to the production of software for airborne systems and equipment used on aircraft or engines.

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DO-178C

The RTCA/EUROCAE DO-178B/ED-12B avionics safety standard went through a revision that ended with the publication of the new DO-178C/ED-12C standard in December 2011. The core document is substantially the same as DO-178B, with a number of clarifications and a few minor corrections. The major effect of the update effort is the creation of a new "Tool Qualification Considerations" document and three supplements that adapt the core document guidance when specific technologies are used: "Model-Based Development and Verification", "Object-Oriented Technology and Related Techniques", and "Formal Methods". AdaCore participated in the DO-178C revision process, with Dr. Cyrille Comar contributing to the subgroup on Object-Oriented Technology and Related Techniques.

The Ada language and the AdaCore tools that are designed to help in DO-178B certification are equally useful for the new DO-178C standard. These include GNAT Pro Safety-CriticalSPARK ProGNATcoverageGNATcheckGNATstackQualification materialTraceability studiesspecific runtimes, etc.

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