Airbus Military Certifies Boom System to DO-178B level A Using GNATcheck for Coding Standard Verification

10:27 GMT, March 2, 2011 NEW YORK & PARIS & NUREMBURG, Germany | AdaCore, provider of tools and expertise for the mission-critical, safety-critical, and security-critical software communities, today announced that Airbus Military has successfully certified the Airbus Military Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) on the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). The certification was simplified by the use of the qualified GNATcheck tool to verify conformance to the software coding standard required by the ARBS project. Verification of conformance was undertaken as part of the DO-178B level A Software Verification Process.

The A330 MRTT is the new military derivative of the Airbus A330-200 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role, air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft. The ARBS is equipped with an all-electrical, full fly-by-wire flight control system. It is provided with an advanced automatic load alleviation system, and has autonomous disconnect for the receiver and the tanker. For additional assurance, it has been designed under the dual redundant architecture (fail operational, fail safe). For security considerations, secure communication is possible though the boom.

AdaCore has developed an agile infrastructure that supports the development, maintenance and modification of software tools and their associated qualification material so that they may be frozen for current certification projects and cost-effectively modified to apply to new certification efforts. The GNATcheck tool takes advantage of this infrastructure so that both the tool and its associated qualification material may be tailored to the needs of any specific certification context.

« Replacing a costly manual coding verification activity with an automated solution proved a sound choice, » said Ismael Lafoz from Airbus. “Having an automated and qualified coding standard verifier greatly helped us complete the Software Verification Process and proceed to delivery in a well-controlled time frame. »

AdaCore’s GNATcheck is an extensible rule-based tool with an easy-to-use interface. It allows developers to completely define a coding standard (referred to as a “Software Code Standard” in DO-178B) as a set of rules, for example, to define a subset of permitted language features. It verifies a program’s conformance with the defined rules and thereby facilitates demonstration of a system’s compliance with a DO-178B process. Developed by RTCA and EUROCAE, DO-178B defines the guidelines for development of aviation software in both the US and Europe and is being increasingly adopted by other related sectors, such as air traffic control and military applications.

« Creating accurate qualification material for a tool is always more easily done by the company developing and maintaining the tool, than by the company using the tool, » said Cyrille Comar, Managing Director at AdaCore. « We are in an ideal position to optimize the effort necessary to create and maintain qualification material on our tools. This allows our customers to simplify their verification activities by using automated processes that can be trusted in a certification context. »

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