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Airbus draws on Wind River certification expertise for A3R
Thursday, 26 January 2023
Automatic air-to-air refuelling involves advanced technologies to identify the receiving aircraft's shape and its refuelling receptacle, then perform automated contact and fuel transfer while flying at high altitude.

Wind River has been working with Airbus to support the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for automatic air-to-air refueling (A3R).

The airframer uses VxWorks 653 for the A330 MRTT air-to-air refueling 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.

The MRTT aircraft is the world's first tanker to be certified for automatic air-to-air refueling boom operations in daylight.

“A3R is a significant milestone in the evolution of airborne refueling systems. It is an honor to work with Airbus and play an important role in its latest A3R achievement,” says 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 an 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, potential obstacles, and develop key metrics during the process to ensure that the system architecture was on the right track,” says Andrés Morán Valero, multicore certification team leader, Air Refueling Software group, Airbus.

The automated A3R system enables more efficient operation, reduces air refueling operator (ARO) workload, reduces inherent risk of this operation and optimizes the rate of air-to-air refueling transfer. In A3R, advanced technologies can identify the receiving aircraft's shape and its refueling receptacle, then perform automated contact and fuel transfer while flying at 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.

Contact details from our directory:
Wind River Systems, Inc. Computer Components, Computer-aided Design, Electronic Components, UAV Control Software
Airbus Defence & Space HQ Airframer
INTA Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacia
Related aircraft programs:
Airbus A330
Related directory sectors:
Design Software
Aircraft Operations
Active Electronic Components