DO-178B to DO-178C: The Comprehensive Review

DO-178 was last revised in 1992, which gave us DO-178B. RTCA/DO-178C, “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification”, provides guidance and regulates the production of software for airborne systems and equipment for use on aircraft or engines.

DO-178C is the revision to the DO-178B guidelines that describe objectives for software lifecycle processes, activities and design considerations for achieving those objectives, and proving that the objectives have been satisfied. The majority of DO-178 is dedicated to describing a sequential development methodology for new, custom-built avionics software. This approach is a requirements-based development and verification methodology that includes a number of alternative methods for satisfying the objectives. DO-178 is not a strict or detailed standard; it is a general framework for developing provable, high-reliability software consistently. Developers of avionics equipment and software must comply with the guidance provided by DO-178.

This paper identifies the major differences between DO-178B and DO-178C, along with a description of the impact of DO-178C on the industry.  This paper also examines the relationship between DO-178C and the supplements, DO-330, DO-331, DO-332, and DO-333.

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Avionics Certification