Aerospace and Defence
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Civil functional safety standards in a military context

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Across the world there is an increasing tendency for  civil functional safety standards to be adopted for military applications   .  

For example,  a weapon systems  become more reliant on software implementation s , s oftware development and verification  contribute   increasingly   to   mission success Consequently, t he  number of software lines of code in aerospace systems continues to increase. Military aircraft systems manufacturers face a particular challenge for software development and verification of safety-critical systems. Because military aircraft systems integrators often rely on suppliers  who are also  familiar with the civil market, the infrastructure and familiarity with RTCA DO-178C “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification” is often leveraged as part of supplier contracts.   

However, DO-178C is not identical  to  military software verification practices and methods prescribed in  defence standards, such as  the  United States Department of Defense Handbook MIL-HDBK-516C “Airworthiness Certification Criteria”, United States Department of Defense Standard Practice MIL-STD-882E “System Safety”,  United Kingdom  Ministry of Defence standard 00-055 , “Requirements for Safety of Programmable Elements in Defence Systems” and other military guidance .  Further complicating the landscape is that military aircraft  may   have the requirement to fly in civil airspace, and therefore their communication, navigation, and surveillance equipment standards must map to   DO-278  as well as the  software  development process standards  of DO-178C    for compatibility with civil requirements.  (Actually, DO-278A and DO-178C are process s tandards and as such, they are nearly identical.)  

So, to what extent can DO-178C principles be followed in pursuit of military airworthiness certification?

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Background

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Why DO-178C?

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MIL-HDBK-516

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DO-178C in context

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DO-178C and MIL-HDBK-516 in tandem

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DEF-STAN-0055/0056

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In summary

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