Aerospace & Defence

Wind River supports Airbus in its certification milestone for automatic air-to-air refuelling

24th January 2023
Harry Fowle

Wind River has announced its cooperation with Airbus to support the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R). The MRTT aircraft is the world’s first tanker to be certified for A3R refuelling boom operations in daylight.

Airbus uses VxWorks 653 for the A330 MRTT air-to-air refuelling boom system (ARBS). This system is comprised of multiple ARINC 653-compliant applications running at multiple levels of safety-criticality and achieved DO-178C DAL A certification. 

With this development, the Airbus A330 MRTT A3R capability has earned the distinction of being certified by the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), involving multiple ED-12C / DO-178C DAL A applications running simultaneously on multiple cores on a multicore processor.

“A3R is a significant milestone in the evolution of airborne refuelling systems. It is an honour to work with Airbus and play an important role in its latest A3R achievement,” said Avijit Sinha, Chief Product Officer, Wind River. “The use of our industry-leading technology demonstrates continuing Wind River leadership in safety-critical real-time software solutions for mission-critical systems. Wind River is able to help customers successfully navigate the challenges and complexities around certification.”

“Airbus is the first worldwide company to certify airborne military equipment with an embedded multicore processor to the highest assurance level DAL-A covering CAST-32A requirements. With the support of Wind River, Airbus successfully navigated its multicore certification journey to achieve this impressive milestone. In addition to delivering its proven industry-leading technologies, Wind River was a trusted advisor to help identify milestones, and potential obstacles, and develop key metrics during the process to ensure that the system architecture was on the right track,” said Andrés Morán Valero, Multicore Certification Team Leader, Air Refuelling Software group, Airbus.

The automated A3R system enables more efficient operation, reduces Air Refuelling Operator (ARO) workload, reduces the inherent risk of this operation, and optimises the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer. In A3R, advanced technologies can identify the receiving aircraft’s shape and its refuelling receptacle, then perform automated contact and fuel transfer while flying at a high altitude.   

Proven in the most challenging safety-critical applications, VxWorks 653 makes it easier and more cost-effective for technology suppliers to meet the stringent safety certification requirements of EN 50128, IEC 61508, ISO 26262, and ED-12C / DO-178C.

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