The standard DO- 178B, also known by the name Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification ( German about: guidelines for certification of avionics software) is a standard for software development in safety-critical aviation. It was developed by the RTCA. The EUROCAE has completely taken over this standard, so that he officially named ED -12B in Europe. The aeronautical authorities of the FAA and EASA demand for the software development process compliance with the standard. The proof is based on the documentation and is a prerequisite for qualification of software for use in aviation. It is often spoken of a software certification. EASA and most military authorities in Europe, however, know the concept of certification for an entire aircraft. For this reason, it is not readily possible to incorporate a software, a plane for the other.
Depending on the functions it has to fulfill a software, it can jeopardize the safety of the aircraft more or less. Depending on the effects of different danger demands are made on the development process. As for the industrial sector, the IEC 61508 standard the assurance levels SIL 4 SIL defined to 0, in the aviation industry the five stages DAL A to E ( Design Assurance Level ) can be used, "catastrophic " to " no impact ". Defines the DAL scale accordingly in the standard DO 254, DO -178B applies to hardware. A software must be classified into one of these stages. Depending on various development methods are allowed or required and there are different documentation and review requirements.
The successor standard DO- 178C / ED -12C was completed in December 2011 and has been available since January 2012.