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DO-278 is important because it provides guidelines for the production of software for ground based avionics systems and equipment that performs its intended function with a level of confidence in safety.

The guidelines to DO-278 are in the form of objectives of software life cycle processes as well as descriptions of activities and design considerations for achieving these objectives.

Additionally, DO-278 provides a description of the evidence that indicate that the objectives have been satisfied.

DO-278 is often referred to as the  “Software Integrity Assurance” standard.

Sector analysts generally feet that DO-278 is a very strong guideline with its mix of assessable objectives and recommendations.

These ground-based systems almost always make heavy use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) technologies including hardware and software. The ground-based systems governed by DO-278A often have much larger, and more diverse, software components than their airborne avionic counterparts.

Consequently, the size, diversity, and increased reliance upon COTS technology all play a key role in the need for DO-278A and the difference between DO-278A and DO-178C.

DO-278 was updated to DO-278A via the RTCA SC-205 committee and released in December 2011. DO-278A is the second version of the baseline DO-278 document.  It’s a corollary to DO-178C, which is a similar standard for airborne software safety, e.g., software that typically executes onboard aircraft which contributes to flight safety. 

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-278 Training, a 2-day course that teaches participants requirements for the software development process, the base set of required documentation and life cycle artifacts.

DO-278 Training covers the Guidelines for Communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems Software Integrity Assurance.” Learn about DO-278 which is a key complement to the DO-178B/DO-178C airborne standard.

RTCA DO-278 training course provides a framework to learn about guidelines for the assurance of software contained in non-airborne CNS/ATM systems. 

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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