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DO-178 and DO-254 are increasingly required for almost all commercial and military aerospace projects throughout the world.

These two government documents, DO-178 and DO-254, define compliance specifications for airborne systems.

While DO-178 is the standard that defines the software planning, development, verification, quality assurance and configuration management process, DO-254 focuses on avionics hardware components and how designers must comply with certain safety specifications.

Fighter and cargo jets, unmanned airborne systems, and even space exploration vehicles are adopting or mandating DO-178 and DO-254.

The DO-178C is the newest revision of DO-178 and is currently used for avionics software development and testing the applications and reliability of such software. The 178C was implemented to improve terminology over the 178B as well as to ensure all standards were up-to-date with modern electromechanical systems and best practices.

The 178C changed inconsistent terms such as “objectives” and “goals” to read more consistently and provided an updated and more detailed glossary of terms compared to the 178B.

The 178C also added multiple changes to the index, most notably with development assurance levels A through E.

The DO-178 and DO-254 standards presume that hardware and software must operate in harmonic unison, each with proven reliability. Previously, hardware was tested at the system level with integrated software and considered exempt from DO-178 quality attributes.

But that exemption resulted in functionality being moved from software to hardware for the purpose of avoiding software certification. Also, hardware complexity has evolved such that hardware is often as complex, or more so, than software due to the embedded logic within PLDs, ASICs, and FPGAs.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-178/DO-178C/DO-254 Training, a combined program focusing on Avionic Certification.

Learn the best practices to achieve DO-178C and DO-254 compliance when it comes to certification of avionics systems: real-time embedded applications, graphics and displays, simulation, flight and engine control systems, power, actuation, mechanical and electromechanical systems, navigation and communication systems.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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