Aerospace and Defence
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AC-20 Reusable Software Components

8 Sections None

he demands of the aerospace industry are long established, and it is well known that certification to DO-178 B/C standards can be an expensive and daunting task. There is more than enough to consider in the application code, with the need for requirements traceability, coding standards, code coverage and associated artefacts all contributing to the considerable administrative mountain associated with such compliance.  

The FAA advisory circular “Reusable Software Components” ( DO-178B AC 20 - 148 ) provides substantial assistance with scaling that mountain.  According to that Advisory Circular, the developers of third party components which have achieved Reusable Software Component Certification (RSCC)    “…partially satisfy the applicable RTCA/DO-178B objectives, while the integrator or applicant completes and shows the compliance for the integrated software package, systems aspects, and aircraft certification.”   

Although DO-178 clearly features many unique industry specific characteristic s , the underlying best practise principles for software development are similar for all high integrity software . In that context, it is  useful to reflect on the successes and failures of past software reuse in several safety critical industries, and to consider how the morals of these stories are accounted for within  DO-178B AC 20 - 148 .  

Within this cautionary framework, it is then useful to further contrast the certification effort associated with an FAA approved Reusable Software Component with certification by conventional means.   

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Background

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Project Triangle

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Therac 25: A cautionary tale

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Safer software reuse

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Reuse in avionics: DO-178 and AC20-148

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RSCs and security

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In summary

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