Software development tools today are about reliability and ensuring adherence to standards

Application software for a growing majority of aerospace and defense systems is complex, and is becoming more so all the time. Requirements for broad capability, precise reliability, security, networking, real-time performance, and interoperability make writing software for military systems more difficult and crucial than ever before.

These are the reasons for the growing sophistication and demand for software design and development tools that seek not only to automate and streamline the software-development process, but also to impose rigor in software engineering and help developers meet safety-critical software standards, such as DO-178B and DO-178C.

"There are two things that are interrelated," explains Chris Rommel, vice president for machine-to-machine and embedded technology at market research VDC Corp. in Natick, Mass. "Reliability is key, and the mission-critical requirements associated with it. Then compliance drives purchasing decisions."

By compliance, Rommel is referring to software development tools that help enforce compliance with reliability and safety-critical standards. "Artifacts can be produced and automated if possible, to ease process standard adherence, such as DO-178B and C, which are the big ones."

Software engineering tools often attempt to automate many of the steps involved in software product lifecycle management, or PLM, as the industry knows it. This means software engineering tools that automate tasks from initial requirements through writing the actual lines of code.

"It starts with requirements," explains Jim McElroy, vice president of marketing at software engineering specialist LDRA Technology Inc. in San Bruno, Calif. "Then the tool hands off those requirements to the software- and hardware-development teams. That requirement gets implemented in software, and the engineer needs to develop a behavior design and the actual code-whether automatically generated or hand-written code."

Software engineering tools must help the developer trace each line of code back to the specific requirement that spawned it, McElroy explains. Likewise, software tools must be able to trace requirements forward to help determine if resulting lines of code actually are logical outgrowths of the initial requirements.

"The drive for standards today is the full lifecycle requirements-from requirements all the way through verifications in a bi-directional workflow," McElroy says.

To ensure compliance to standards like DO-178B and C, software development tools offer a formal automated approach to make sure each requirement corresponds with specific lines of code, and each line of code corresponds with its initial requirement. "If I need to make a change in a line of code, what requirement is that line of code part of?" McElroy explains.

Ensuring rigor in software development, as well as compliance to standards, has taken many different approaches over the years. Back in the 1980s, for example, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) mandated use of the Ada programming language for writing real-time mission-critical software applications.

Ada is a disciplined language with built-in traceability and other features that enforce a structured software-development process. DOD eventually dropped its requirement for Ada because of industry pushback. Preferred programming languages, such as C and C++, however, do not enforce software rigor like Ada, so today's software development tools are attempting to add Ada-like software-development methodologies and standards compliance on languages like C and C++.

"Ada was put in place because it is a strong, structured language," McElroy says. "In reality, it wasn't attractive to the commercial base of developers. It was not as flexible as the more-marketable C++ and Java languages." Today, it is the role of software-development tools to "see that developers are implementing C in a safe manner, because it is a very flexible language," he says.

While many of the mature software-development companies have developed formal workflows with guidelines for using C and C++ in real-time, mission-critical embedded systems, LDRA and other companies offer tools to help other developers write software to a specific set of coding standards, address safety and security requirements, and help customers check code against those limitations, McElroy says.


COMPANY INFO

AdaCore New York

www.adacore.com
Atego San Diego
www.atego.com
CIMdata Ann Arbor, Mich.
www.cimdata.com
Coverity Inc. San Francisco, Calif.
www.coverity.com
Dassault Systemes Auburn Hills, Mich.
www.3ds.com
DDC-I Inc. Phoenix
www.ddci.com
ENSCO Avionics Endicott, N.Y.
www.ensco.com/avionics
GrammaTech Inc. Ithaca, N.Y.
www.grammatech.com/
Green Hills Software Santa Barbara, Calif.
www.ghs.com
Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) Tysons Corner, Va.
www.global-isi.com
LDRA Technology Inc. San Bruno, Calif.
www.ldra.com
LynuxWorks Inc. San Jose, Calif.
www.lynuxworks.com
The MathWorks Inc. Natick, Mass.
www.mathworks.com
Mentor Graphics Wilsonville, Ore.
www.mentor.com
Omnify Software Andover, Mass.
www.omnifysoft.com
Oracle Redwood Shores, Calif.
www.oracle.com
Parasoft Embedded, a division of Parasoft Corp. Monrovia, Calif.
www.parasoft-embedded.com
Real-Time Innovations Sunnyvale, Calif.
www.rti.com
SAP Labs U.S. Palo Alto, Calif.
www.sap.com
SofTech Inc. Lowell, Mass.
www.softech.com
Wind River Alameda, Calif.
www.windriver.com



Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

F-SIM-LDR ARINC 615A Data Loader

AIT's F-SIM-LDR, or Flight Simulyzer Loader, is a complete ARINC-615A Data Loader development kit...

cPCI-1760-SW-4

AceXtreme® Bridge Device - Smart Protocol Converter

DDC’s AceXtreme Bridge Device converts avionics messages in real time between Ethernet, MIL-STD-1...

Low Voltage Power Supplies for Avionics

Crane Aerospace & Electronics has over 50 years of experience in the design and manufacture of hi...

Transformer Rectifier Units (TRUs)

As the world’s leading supplier of Transformer Rectifier Units (TRUs) for commercial aircraft sin...

RAR-USB

The RAR-USB is an ARINC 429 USB 2.0 adaptor that provides up to sixteen totally independent recei...

DW 251

DW 251 has been developed for specific use in aerospace and aircraft electrical and wiring applic...

Aircraft gearboxes

Positronic's Front Runner Connectors

The Front Runner Series offers a multiplicity of connector features which makes it a first choice...

ANET1553 / ANET429 Ethernet modules

New Ethernet Avionics Databus solutions for MIL-STD-1553A/B and ARINC429 are available. Test & Si...

Related Companies

CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA

Has been designing and manufacturing complex high-performance avionics, defense and communication boards, subsystems ...

Boker's Inc

Boker's, Inc. can manufacture your flat washers, spacers and shims with an outside diameter from 0.080" to 12" and ma...

DLS Electronic Systems Inc

Provides EMC/EMI & Environmental testing to MIL-STD 461-A-F, MIL-STD 810 & RTCA DO-160-C-G, Boeing, Airbus FAA AC20-1...

MICCAVIONICS GmbH

Highly innovative, integrated time-critical solutions of an information mission management and command and control sy...

Speel Praha Ltd

Offers avionics systems, including aircraft monitoring systems, crash-protected solid-state flight data/cockpit voice...

Digital Systems Engineering Inc (DSE)

Harsh-duty ruggedized flat-panel display design and manufacturing for airborne, military, and marine surveillance app...

Astro-Med

Designs and manufactures ruggedized printers and Ethernet switches used in demanding military and defense application...

StacoSystems

Provides LED push button display switches and control solutions, subsystems, and rugged keyboards and keypads for com...

LAI International Inc

LAI International is a leading contract manufacturer of make-complete precision-engineered components and assemblies ...

Interpoint

Supplies high-density, high-reliability Interpoint microelectronics, DC/DC converters and EMI filters to the aerospac...
Wire News provided by   

social activity

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the design considerations for blending general-purposes processors (GPUs), general-purpose graphics processors (GPGPUs), field-programmable ...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

View the 2014 Buyer's Guide Now!


Mil & Aero Magazine

October 2014
Volume 25, Issue 10
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE