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COTS and Safety Certifiability in the Military and Aerospace Industry

November 05, 2015 | BY: Gregory Sikkens

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Today’s military and aerospace mission systems must seamlessly handle vast amounts of data from a variety of sources. System integrators must provide modern, complex systems with high performance capabilities while at the same time meeting Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) requirements, all on a constrained budget. More and more, FAA regulations are requiring that airborne electronics for use in commercial and military applications meet strict safety certification standards. System designers of rotary wing platforms and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) ground stations in particular are increasingly confronted with safety certification requirements. While DO-178 certification was predominantly requested, the industry is now experiencing more requests for both DO-178 and DO- 254 certifications. 

Previously, safety certifiable systems were custom built in order to meet FAA standards. These systems were simpler and easier to certify due to their relatively low complexity when compared to modern-day systems. Today’s challenge of providing safety certifiable mission-critical systems with higher complexity at a reasonable price point has led integrators away from the costly, custom-built systems of the past in favor of modern COTS modules. While the safety certification process can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly, COTS vendors can not only reduce the cost of safety-certifiable electronics, but also reduce a customer’s risk and accelerate their time to market. 

Learn more about:

  • What is Safety Certification? 
  • Safety Certification Dilemma for Military Embedded Systems 
  • Safety Certifiable COTS – The Way of the Future 
  • Guiding You Through Safety Certification 

Author’s Biography

Gregory Sikkens

Senior Product Manager, Graphics, Safety Certifiable & ARM Single Board Computers

During his 28 years at Curtiss-Wright, Gregory's current role as Senior Product Manager includes the product lines of: Graphics, ARM Single Board Computers and Safety Certifiable COTS boards. Previously, Gregory also held roles as product development manager, software team lead, and test/ILS engineering. Gregory has a Microcomputer Engineering Technologist degree from St. Lawrence College.

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