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Software Certification Standards for Avionics Updated

Dr. James J. Hunt
aicas Newsletter Anniversary 2011/2012


The plenary for updating software certification standards in Avionics (SC-205/WG-71) has now  completed its work, and the results have been approved by the RTCA in the USA. This is the first step in their official adoption and they are expected to be approved for use in Europe (EASA) and the USA (FAA) in the coming months. Indeed, some projects are already using some of them. These  standards represent the biggest change to software certification in avionics since 1992, clearing the path for using advanced technology such as formal methods, object-oriented technology, and garbage collection.

Though used with different designations in the USA and the European Union, the new standards are the same for both. The standards cover not only basic development for ground-based and  airborne software, but they now include four new documents covering software tool qualification, model-based design and verification, object-oriented technology and related techniques, and formal methods. Table 1 provides a full list of the documents with both RTCA (American) and EUROCAE (European) designations. For convenience, the RTCA designations will be used henceforth.


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