Understanding DO-330 and Overview of Software Tool Qualification

Unlike DO-331, 223 and 333, DO-330 is NOT a Supplement DO-178C & DO-278A; it is a more general set of ‘considerations’ which can also be used outside airborne and ground based avionics systems. It was developed to provide updated engineering guidelines, resulting from advances in technology. When new technologies are used, it is not always clear how the objectives of the core guidelines (such as DO-178C / DO-278A documents) are mapped to the terminology and the approach used by each specific technology. DO-330 modifies, or deletes, the guidance (in documents such as DO-178C & DO-278A) to make the expectations clearer.

For the construction and safety certification of airborne systems software, the software tools used to build this software generally needs to be qualified. This qualification provides evidence that the software tool is suitable for use, when building such safety-related airborne software. Guidance for this qualification is provided in the RTCA’s (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) and EUROCAE (European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment) document “DO-330: Software Tool Qualification Considerations”. This paper identifies the major activities outlined in DO-330, along with a description of the impact it has on the industry at large. It also examines the relationship between DO-178C and DO-330.

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Avionics Certification