July 25, 2022

The guidance document DO-178 “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification”1 2 was first published in 1982, re-written in 1992 as DO-178B and updated in 2011 as DO-178C, to reflect the experience accrued to meet today’s aviation industry needs.

LDRA has participated extensively on both the DO-178B3 and DO-178C4 committees over nearly two decades. Mike Hennell, LDRA’s CEO, was instrumental in the inclusion of several test measurement objectives in the standard, including those relating to structural coverage analysis. The LDRA tool suite®️ was itself a forerunner in automated verification for certification to both DO-178B, and to its companion standard, DO-2785 for ground-based systems.

The ARP 4754A6 standard dictates that functional hazard analyses and system safety assessments are completed prior to a system’s development. A Development Assurance Level (DAL) is assigned accordingly for that system, and for the subsystems that implement its hardware and software requirements. The DO-178C standard then provides detailed guidance for the development and verification of safety critical airborne software systems in accordance with the assigned DAL, such that the effort and expense of producing such as a flight control system is necessarily higher than that required to produce (say) a bathroom smoke detector.

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