AMC 20-152A Explanation and History of DO-254 between FAA and EASA

DO-254 / ED-80 Evolvement

DO-254 Background

DO-254 / ED-80 released in 2000 provides guidance for design assurance of airborne electronic hardware from conception through initial certification and subsequent post certification product improvements to ensure continued airworthiness. It was developed based on showing compliance with certification requirements for transport category aircraft and equipment but parts of this document may be applicable to other equipment.

Until 2021, FAA and EASA had different perspectives on DO-254, hence each certification authority published their own means of compliance with some similarities and some major differences. FAA published AC 20-152 in 2005 which limited the scope of DO-254 for certification of hardware approved in USA. EASA published CM–SWCEH–001 in 2011 which took a more stringent rules on COTS devices as well as DAL-C Simple or Complex Hardware.

FAA and EASA View of DO-254 prior to AMC 20-152A guidelines

FAA AC 20-152 view of DO-254:

EASA CM–SWCEH–001 view of ED-80 or DO-254:

AC 20-152 limited the scope of the application of the DO-254 guidance.  Only applies to complex devices such as ASICs and PLDs. Application of DO-254 to Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) and Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) is no longer required.  Application of the guidance to level D design assurance is optional and not subject to FAA oversight and or approval. Strengthened the exemption for COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) microprocessors.

At Equipment & Circuit Card Assemblies (CBA): Applies to all DALs.  DAL-D can follow company processes (similar to “DO”). Basic Planning Docs. PHAC, HVP, HCI, HAS Full Supporting, CM, V&V according to Appendix A

For Simple ASICs & PLDs full process plans required.  Basic Process Plans for DAL-D is sufficient.  Verification for DAL A & B at gates or nodes within the device. Verification for DAL-C at Pin-Level and DAL-D at Device-Level.

For Complex devices on applies to DAL A, B and C. DO-254 Full Appendix A is applied with full documentation. DAL-C requires same level of traceability as DAL-B and A. HDL Standards required for DAL A & B.

For COTS Devices: Not Required for DAL-D.  However for DAL-C and above, applicant could face up to 16 tasks based on complexity of device, Product Service Experience and DAL.

Overview & Impact of AMC 20-152A on DO-254 Projects

AMC 20-152A is jointly developed by EASA and the FAA to provide a harmonized approach to the approval of Airborne Electronic Hardware (AEH)

The AMC/AC 20-152A provides Objectives for:
        - Development of Custom Devices used in AEH (Objectives CD-x)
        - The use of COTS-IP in custom devices (Objectives IP-x)
        - The use of COTS devices (Objectives COTS-x)
        - The development Circuit Board Assemblies (CBA) (Objectives CBA-x)

The AMC 20-152A also Clarifies:
        - The notion of Simple and Complex
        - DO-254 Configuration Control categories for life-cycle data items
        - DO-254 Tool Assessment and Qualification

AMC 20-152A Application:

AMC 20-152A COTS Objectives:

AMC 20-152A COTS IP Objectives:

Applies to AEH that contributes to DAL A, B, or C functions.

AC/AMC 20-152A does not address:  Address Single Event Effects (SEE) aspects. However SEE aspects, or the assessment of susceptibility, should be addressed according to EASA CM-AS-004.

ALL hardware requirements should be validated (CD-3): The requirements against which the hardware item is to be verified are complete and correct. Requirements are evaluated for impact on Safety. Omissions and errors are fed back to the appropriate processes.

The AMC/AC 20-152A guidance provide more general objectives than previous guidance.  Fundamentally the same issues are addressed. The new objectives enable a broader range of COTS components to be used in avionics applications provided the potential impact on the application is mitigated.

Applicant must perform Complexity Assessment: Multiple functionalities. Significant configurability. Multiple, or advanced, processing or switching elements.

Design Assurance for Complex COTS Components: Electronic Component management Process. Device usage ranges. Embedded micro-code considerations. Device malfunctions. COTS Device usage.

Elaborations and objectives for COTS IP which follows DO-178C Multi-core aspects per CAST-32A or AMC 20-193.

 COTS-IP should be selected based on its technical suitability for implementing the intended function.  COTS IP architecture or IP design concept provides an understanding of the functionality, modes, and configuration of the IP. 

The availability and quality of data and documentation allow the understanding of all aspects of the COTS IP functions, modes, and behavior, and enable the integration and verification of the COTS IP.

Information exists for the IP user to be able to create the physical implementation of the COTS IP.

ConsuNova Compliance Services for AC/AMC 20-152A and DO-254:


AMC 20-152A Training and Objectives:

ConsuNova DO-254 training includes AMC/AC 20-152A modules  covering AMC 20-152 compliance. 

AMC/AC 20-152A Compliance Training topics include:

•  Explanation of AMC 20-152A Objectives.
•  Training on Compliance to DO-254 for circuit board assembly (CBA).
•  ACM 20-152A expectations on complex custom device or complex COTS devices.
•  Emphasis on IP CORE and COTS IP under AC 20-152A.
•  Optimized path for DAL-C and DAL-D DO-254 compliance. 
•  Relationship to AMC 20-193 and CAST-32A.

Certification of Airborne Electronic Hardware (AEH)

Certification Audits, Gap Analysis and Compliance Letters 

ConsuNova European CVEs and FAA Consulting DER team have expertise and are involved in AEH certification according to AMC 20-152A.

Our team of experts are equipped with knowledge and track record to assist you from the AEH certification planning to completion of DO-254 compliance audits for certification.

DO-254 and AMC/AC 20-152A Templates and Checklists

Expedited and Optimized Templates

We have augmented our proprietary DO-254 Templates and Checklists to ensure full coverage of compliance steps in every process and checks during your AMC 20-152A planning, development, and verification.

These templates provide certification aspects of DO-254 objectives, and all additional requirements from AMC/AC 20-152A guidelines. This way, your team only needs to focus on the technical aspects of AEH challenges.

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