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Increasingly, aerospace systems containing software on the ground are required to follow the DO-278A “Software Integrity Assurance” standard.

DO-278A is a strong guideline comprising both recommendations and assessable objectives. It is intended for use in developing ground-based systems (containing software) which are involved with aircraft operations.

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.

The size, diversity, and increased reliance upon COTS technology all play a key role in the need for DO-278A.

Today, DO-278A is a standalone document.  Although it describes many activities, processes, and objectives that are in common with DO-178C, it is no longer necessary to use them side-by-side.

The Assurance Levels in DO-278A are labeled AL1 through AL6 and they are slightly different from those in DO-178C where they are labeled A through E.

DO-278A has specific objectives based upon the assurance level (AL) of the software.

Higher AL’s must satisfy more DO-278A objectives than lower levels. After the software criticality level has been determined, you examine DO-278A to determine exactly which objectives must be satisfied for the software. 

The growth and complexity of airborne systems requires the elaboration of specific standards for software certification, mainly due to the characteristics of safety and reliability. As a consequence it is also been necessary to improve the corresponding verification processes including the techniques that facilitate checking compliance with these required features. 

Want to learn more? Tonex offers DO-278A Training | Software Integrity Assurance, a 3-day course that provides you with the knowledge, concepts, principals, history, standards and tools relevant to DO-278A.

Learn about DO-278A, Software Integrity Assurance Considerations for Communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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