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DO-178C is now the de facto approach for the use of software in military avionics systems worldwide.

This standard provides recommendations for the production of airborne systems and equipment software. Compliance with the objectives of DO-178C is the primary means for meeting airworthiness requirements and obtaining approval of software used in civil aviation products.

DO-178C testing is part of the overall process of complying with the guidance in DO178C, Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification.

DO-178C is the primary document by which the certification authorities such as FAA, EASA and Transport Canada approve all commercial software-based aerospace systems.

DO-178C replaced DO-178B to be the primary document by which the certification authorities will approve all commercial software-based aerospace systems. It represents a revision to DO-178B considering the experiences and information gathered for developing software for avionics.

The new document, entitled DO-178C (ED-12C), was completed in November 2011 and approved by the RTCA in December 2011. The new document became available for use in January 2012.

The DO-178B was first published in December 1992 by RTCA. The document outlined the guidelines used by organizations developing airborne equipment and certification authorities, such as FAA, EASA and Transport Canada. The development of DO-178B was a joint effort of RTCA and EUROCAE who published the document as ED-12B.

Several certification authorities software team (CAST) papers were developed as clarification papers after the initial publication. DO-178C prescribes a process to be followed in the development of airborne systems. One of the key requirements in the software verification process of DO-178C is achieving structural code coverage in conjunction with the testing of the high-level and low-level software requirements.

Based on a system safety assessment, failure condition categories are established. These failure condition categories determine the level of software integrity necessary for safe avionics operation. DO-178C classifies software into five levels of criticality based on whether atypical software behavior could cause or contribute to the failure of a system function.

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-178C Training Crash Course, a 4-day course that provides the knowledge required to reduce DO-178C risks and costs, while also enhancing the quality of the software during avionics development.

During this intensive hands-on training, participants learn the best practices for real-life software development and how to stay away from common DO-178C errors.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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