AdaCore Software Development Tools Used for Advanced Air Defense System

Rheinmetall Air Defence is using AdaCore tools and the Ada programming language to build and test the complex, safety-critical systems that control the steering and monitoring of its sophisticated air defense cannons By DA Reporter / 22 Jul 2022
AdaCore Safety-Critical Software Development Tools Used for Advanced Air Defense System

AdaCore, a provider of software development and verification tools, has announced that Rheinmetall Air Defence is extending its use of AdaCore tools and the Ada programming language. 

Continuing an eight-year partnership, Rheinmetall is using Ada and AdaCore’s tools to build and test the complex, safety-critical systems that control the steering and monitoring of its sophisticated air defense cannons. 

These systems bring together mechanical control of the gun with advanced electronics that model and move the cannon. The mission-critical embedded solution has to multitask in real-time and achieve Safety Integrity Levels (SILs) 2 and 3 to meet varying customer needs and to enable the physical testing of the cannon.

The system has been developed in Ada due to the language’s native ability to handle concurrency reliably and efficiently and to provide early detection of errors, all critical to the cannon’s successful operation. 

Using Ada delivers the benefits of strong code performance, reduced manual effort in testing, a feature set designed for safety and security, and the stability to build and support long-lived software solutions that can be deployed across multiple generations of a platform.

A team of 12 programmers at Rheinmetall is now using AdaCore’s GNAT Pro development environment to write and update software, which has been continuously developed over 20 years. 

The current gun software contains three-quarters of a million lines of code. To facilitate software verification, Rheinmetall is using AdaCore’s CodePeer static analysis toolsuite to help detect errors and vulnerabilities and the GNAT Dynamic Analysis Suite to unit test source code. 

“To support our critical, complex project, we need a trusted, long-term partner that provides us with a combination of software tools and comprehensive support,” said Robert Sonderer, Software Development, Air Defense and Radar Systems, Rheinmetall Air Defence. “Our team sees the benefits of working together with AdaCore every day, using its range of solutions to meet our changing mission-critical needs.”

AdaCore’s technology was chosen due to its ability to work seamlessly with the Wind River VxWorks embedded operating system, which enables the internal cannon systems, and the fact that it is able to run in a portable, laptop-based environment. As physical testing takes place at Rheinmetall’s remote proving ground, where there is no external connectivity, the company relies on the ability of AdaCore’s tools to run efficiently on a laptop without requiring connections to a large server.

“Rheinmetall’s project is the perfect example of the type of safety-critical, long-lived embedded system that Ada was created for,” said Quentin Ochem, Lead of Product Management and Business Development at AdaCore. “We are pleased to have built a successful, long-term partnership with Rheinmetall, enabling them to deliver advanced air defense systems to customers around the world using our range of tools.”

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