Systems Software Integrity Assurance to FAA’s Next Generation (NextGen) Constituents
Data Comm is a program that will enhance existing communications between the air traffic controller and the pilot by essentially sending digital messages to supplement the existing voice communications. With more reliance on Data Comm as the FAA’s Next Generation systems become fielded, ensuring the communications is reliable, accurate, and most importantly safe becomes increasingly critical. RTCA DO-278 provides the guidelines for communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management systems software integrity assurance. It doesn’t guarantee that the software developed in accordance with these guidelines is safe but if followed it ensures that the processes are in place to properly plan, develop and verify the software. Lockheed Martin is in the process of integrating Data Comm with the En Route Automation and Modernization (ERAM) program and is developing the program in compliance with DO-278. This brings challenges as well as opportunities with the increasing reliance on commercial off the shelf (COTS) software. These challenges and some insight into developing systems to the standards of DO-278 will be discussed.