DO-178C provides important, detailed guidance in the aviation industry for developing airborne software systems to ensure that these systems perform their intended function with a high level of reliability.
In the United States, the FAA, as part of its aerospace industry safety certification processes, uses DO-178C for software and RTCA DO-254 for complex electronic hardware.
But DO-178C is also applicable in the military aerospace industry with the military version focusing more on mission success probability (MSP) as well as on harsher environments.
Additionally, there is also focus on the many onboard mission systems with only DO-178C flight-safety impact needed for mission success. The emphasis is on DO-178 “Military Compliance” versus DO-178C “Certification.”
DO-178C became necessary because aircraft and defense systems are made up of many different parts, including highly complex software and hardware components. Since many of these qualify as mission-critical applications whose faults can have deadly consequences for passengers and crew, avionics is a very heavily regulated industry.
Consequently, in order for an aircraft to go to market, it must undergo a long certification process to be considered airworthy. The certification process includes submission to the relevant regulatory authorities in order to get a test certificate.
Then manufacturers go through rounds of design approvals, simulations, prototype model testing, structural tests, and in-flight tests to make sure the aircraft is safe for use.
The origins of this standard date back all the way to the 1970s, when manufacturers began to increase the amount of integrated software and hardware in aircrafts. This led the industry to create what was (at the time) a quite prescriptive set of design assurance processes to ensure aircraft safety.
Over time, the standard has become less prescriptive and more objective-based, which gives companies a bit of flexibility in terms of how they achieve the recommended guidelines.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Advanced DO-178C Training Workshop, a 4-day course that focuses on the aspects of DO-178C guideline, as well as its supplementary standards.
You will be introduced to the philosophy, rationale, and history behind DO-178C and will learn about the methods and techniques required to develop and implement it in your organization.
Advanced DO-178C training workshop covers the main notions behind DO-178B/C avionics certification. It also reviews the differences between DO-178B and DO-178C.
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.