DO-178 and DO-254 for Military Compliance

Download Full 10-20 Page Military DO-178 and DO-254 Whitepaper

Military avionics, especially avionics systems with their software and hardware are unique:  safety assessments, criticality levels, mission performance and mission success are all unique over civil commercial aviation.   However, worldwide militaries are increasingly adopting civil aviation’s standards for Safety, Systems, Software, and Hardware.  This 10+ page proprietary AFuzion paper describes unique aspects of military aviation avionics certification built from AFuzion’s 10+ years’ experience being the primary certification/engineering resource for the U.S. Army, Air Force, NASA, Australia RAAF, New Zealand’s RNZAF, U.K.’s MOD, and Germany’s Bundeswehr plus the militaries of 15+ other worldwide militaries.

For decades, military organizations have developed hardware and software using a variety of specialized, defense-oriented standards including 2167A, 498, and MIL STD 882 & 882E. As Military organizations, they were highly motivated to use hardware and software standards which differed from the commercial sector since it was perceived that military applications were “different.” Militaries utmost concern was primarily “Mission”. Today however, there is an accelerating momentum toward Military/Commercial avionics convergence: adopting commercial ARP47XX and DO-XXX guidelines for militaries worldwide. Today, fighter jets (Joint Strike Fighter, T-50, etc), cargo planes (C-130, C-17, A400M, etc.) KC-46, and UAV/UAS’s (formally called RPAS: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems including Predator, Global Hawk, and many more) are requiring compliance to these civil standards.

For over forty years, commercial avionics software has required certification via the civil guidlines, and now for over a decade, military software has required similar “compliance”. But several years ago, certification authorities realized that avionics safety was dictated by both software and hardware; hardware was just as important as software, but only required adherence to environmental testing, So SC-180, the precursor to civil hardware guidelines, was initiated, thereby levying consistent certification requirements upon hardware to be nearly as rigorous as avionics software.    This paper highlights differences between Military and Civil aviation certification and application of ARP47XX and DO-XXX including:

  • Military weapons systems and guidance lacked any civil aviation equivalence and in some cases were more complex than civil.
  • Mission performance success is always a highly desirable goal and surpasses “safety” in some instances.
  • Military projects needed higher reliability in harsh environments than civilian projects.
  • Military projects had numerous varied suppliers to manage.
  • Military projects required specialized military/sensitive functionality and complex integration cycles.
  • Military projects had long airframe lifetimes to account for.

This paper provides key military avionics/aviation development and certification criteria and differences with civil aviation.

Download Full 10-20 Page Military DO-178 and DO-254 Whitepaper


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