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Use of service history for certification credit for COTS [avionic software]

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2 Author(s)
Ferrell, T.K. ; Ferrell & Associates Consulting Inc., Vienna, VA, USA ; Ferrell, U.D.

Much has been written in the last ten years about how the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components would revolutionize the aerospace industry avionics, communication, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) as well as global air traffic management (GATM). Civil aviation authorities around the world have been faced with numerous requests to certify aircraft containing increasing percentages of COTS components, much of it never designed or intended for use in the safety critical environment of an aircraft. Product service history is one method for demonstrating that such software is acceptable for use. In theory, product service history would seem to be a fairly simple concept, both to understand and to apply. However, in practice, such use has proven extremely problematic, as questions of how to measure the historic performance and the relevance of the provided data have surfaced. This paper elaborates a research effort funded by the United States Federal Aviation Administration to collect, analyze, and synthesize what is known and understood about applying product service history. The effort is limited to the topic of software product service history as applied in the certification of airborne systems and equipment.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 1 )