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Safe in the Air: Moving Avionic Systems Security Forward

By Arti Loftus September 23, 2019

Earlier this month, three companies joined forces to advance more secure flights of commercial, private, military and government planes, helicopters and drones.

Abaco, Real-Time Innovations (RTI) and Wind River announced the integration of the first hardware, operating system, and communications framework with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) RTCA DO-254 and RTCA DO-178C DAL.

This safety certification evidence package promises to deliver accelerated certification and airworthiness for next generation airborne control and mission systems, different in that it leverages a multi-supplier solution stack based upon open standards. The companies say this package “vastly reduces integration and certification risk while accelerating time-to-market and deployment of critical systems.

“We know that certification is a real challenge for many of our customers because of the time and expense involved,” said Simon Collins, Senior Product Manager at Abaco Systems. “That’s why we invested in providing the artifacts necessary to support the certifiability of the FORCE2C mission computer. On their own, they can make an important contribution to enabling our customers to achieve certification faster and at lower cost – but in combination with the evidence packages now available from RTI and Wind River, we can offer a very compelling solution.”

The partners say this is the first time both hardware and software have been integrated with all components enabling the highest level of avionics safety certification, based upon the hardware and software modular open systems architecture (MOSA) and open industry standards, including Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE), POSIX, ARINC 653, VPX and others.

“Wind River and its partners are very pleased to help customers achieve cost synergies through ecosystem-integrated solutions, open architectures, and reuse with the industry’s first COTS DO-254 and DO-178C package for airborne systems,” said Ray Petty, Vice President of Aerospace and Defense at Wind River. “COTS certification artifacts can accelerate the time required to accomplish certification while reducing risk, and extending this through certification-ready integrated solutions, brings significant value to our customers and their customers.”

“RTI is thrilled to be working with Abaco and Wind River to deliver the first COTS DO-254 and DO-178C solution for airborne systems,” said Chip Downing, Senior Market Development Director, Aerospace and Defense at RTI and Chair of the FACE™ Business Working Group Outreach Subcommittee. “We’re excited to continue to demonstrate our growing partner ecosystem based on COTS solutions and COTS certification evidence. This deepens our partner relationships and drives affordable safety-critical technology solutions within the military and commercial aerospace sector.”


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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