By John McHale
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Officials at Wind River Systems in Alameda, Calif., are working to certify the company's real-time operating system (RTOS) to the stringent reliability guidelines necessary for the U.S. Air Force Boeing C-130 Avionics Modernization program.
Engineers from Wind River and Smiths Aerospace in Grand Rapids, Mich., are extending Wind River's Platform for Safety Critical ARINC 653 RTOS to meet the National Security Agency's highest evaluation assurance certification level, (EAL 7) for eventual use on the C-130 avionics program.
Smiths is providing the application software and hardware and is responsible for making them secure, while Wind River is responsible for securing the RTOS. Boeing in St. Louis is developing modern, common cockpit avionics for about 500 C-130 transport aircraft in Air Force service.
The final product should be ready in two years, says Steve Blackman, senior director business development for aerospace and development at Wind River in Canton, Mass. It will take about one year for Wind River to complete the RTOS, six months for safety-critical certification, and another year for the NSA Common Criteria certification, he says.
EAL certification has seven levels — 1 to 4 are low risk, while 5 to 7 are medium and high and require certification; security certification is a much more intensive process than safety certification, Blackman explains.
Wind River's Platform for Safety Critical ARINC 653, which is for applications like integrated modular avionics, is part of the company's Safe and Secure Program to provide integrated software that meets stringent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety certifications. It enables software routines running at different safety levels to share computing resources.
The software is based on a multiple independent-level-security (MILS) architecture, evaluated to EAL 7, which houses and transfers data at secret, classified, and unclassified security levels, Wind River officials say.
A MILS environment secure partitioning, which enables users to add applications after the initial program is finished, without having to go through the long and expensive process of recertifying the entire system, Wind River officials say. The software is also certifiable to DO-178B Level A for safety.
Wind River bases this software on VxWorks AE653, which complies with ARINC 653 Supplement 1 and includes time- and space-based protection domains integrated with embedded development tools, Ada, test and verification tools, and hardware support.
Smiths Aerospace has also selected the Platform for Safety Critical ARINC 653 for use in the future Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner passenger jet. Smiths designers will use Wind River's software in the 7E7's Common Core System, which hosts many of the airplane's computers and data networks.
The 7E7 Common Core System, which will run 80 to 100 applications simultaneously, will replace dozens of traditional, stand-alone, computers and data buses fitted to present day aircraft. The 7E7 is set to enter service in 2008.
The RTOS should enable Boeing to further reduce costs, size, and power consumption for the 7E7, while also meeting "today's stringent security and safety requirements," claims Mike Grady, vice president, Civil and Military Air Transport of Smiths Aerospace.
For more information about the Platform for Safety Critical ARINC 653 to online at www.windriver.com/platforms/platformsc_arinc.