Ada on board: Thales uses AdaCore GNAT Pro for critical avionics software

MERIGNAC, France. Aerospace, defense, transportation, and security company Thales in La Defense, France, selected and used AdaCore’s GNAT Pro Ada environment to develop and verify a qualified autocode generator for critical airborne software. Thales staff implemented the autocode generator in Ada; the tool takes an XML file and produces source code for an embedded avionics system that will be assessed against the Level B objectives in the DO-178C / ED-12C Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment certification standard.

Nov 1st, 2017
Ada on board: Thales uses AdaCore GNAT Pro for critical avionics software
Ada on board: Thales uses AdaCore GNAT Pro for critical avionics software

MERIGNAC, France.Aerospace, defense, transportation, and security company Thales in La Defense, France, selected and used AdaCore’s GNAT Pro Ada environment to develop and verify a qualified autocode generator for critical airborne software. Thales staff implemented the autocode generator in Ada; the tool takes an XML file and produces source code for an embedded avionics system that will be assessed against the Level B objectives in the DO-178C / ED-12C Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment certification standard.

The development process for the autocode generator has been performed according to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) DO-330 / ED-215 Tool Qualification Considerations standard, and the tool has been qualified for the avionics project at tool qualification level TQL‑2.

In addition to the compilation environment used for the development and verification of the autocode generator, several AdaCore tools have been used for the avionics software itself. These include the GNAT Programming Studio (GPS) Integrated Development Environment (IDE), the GNATcheck coding standard verifier, and the GNATcoverage structural coverage analyzer.

According to the Thales engineer in charge of the autocode generator, using an automated coding standard verifier and a qualified structural code coverage analyzer greatly helped the project complete the Tool Verification Process.

“AdaCore has a long and successful history in the avionics industry, with a growing product range that has enabled customers to develop and verify safety-critical software at the highest levels of DO-178B/C / ED-12B/C certification,” AdaCore Commercial Team Lead Jamie Ayre says. “We are pleased to see GNAT Pro Ada being used by Thales, both for their application itself and also the qualified autocode generator that is producing the code.”

Ada is an internationally standardized (ISO) programming language designed for long-lived, high-reliability, embedded real-time systems, embodying sound software engineering features for both sequential and concurrent applications while also providing facilities for low-level programming. The most recent version of the language, Ada 2012, includes features for contract-based programming (such as subprogram pre- and postconditions) that embed low-level requirements in the source code where they can be verified either dynamically with run-time checks or at compile time with appropriate tool support.

Founded in 1994, AdaCore supplies software development and verification tools for mission-critical, safety-critical and security-critical systems. Four flagship products highlight the company’s offerings:

The GNAT Pro development environment for Ada, a complete toolset for designing, implementing, and managing applications that demand high reliability and maintainability;

The CodePeer advanced static analysis tool, an automatic Ada code reviewer and validator that can detect and eliminate errors both during development and retrospectively on existing software;

The SPARK Pro verification environment, a toolset based on formal methods and oriented toward high-assurance systems; and

The QGen model-based development tool suite for safety-critical control systems, providing a qualifiable and customizable code generator, a static verifier for Simulink® and Stateflow® models, and a model-level debugger.

Over the years customers have used Ada and AdaCore products to field and maintain a wide range of critical applications in domains such as commercial avionics, automotive, railway, space, military systems, air traffic management/control, medical devices, and financial services. AdaCore has an extensive and growing worldwide customer base.

AdaCore products are open source and come with expert online support provided by the developers themselves. The company has European headquarters in Paris and North American headquarters in New York.

Thales is a global technology company for the aerospace, transport, defense, and security markets. With 64,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14.9 billion ($17.9 billion) in 2016. With over 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its exceptional international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.

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