TQL-5 versus “Verification” tools

TQL-5 is equivalent to the qualification level for “verification tools” in DO-178B/ED-12B. But, DO-330/ED-215 provides more accurate and complete guidance for tools at TQL-5 than DO-178B/ED-12B did for verification tools. The intent is not to ask for more activities or more data. The qualification still does not require any data from the tool development process. That means that it should be still possible to qualify a tool at TQL-5 without any data from the Tool Developer (e.g., the tool vendor for a COTS tool). However, it clarifies the content of the TOR, the compliance of the tool with the resulting software process needs, and the objectives of other integral processes applicable to TQL-5.

The objectives associated with TQL-5 are mainly in Table T-0. All objectives are “user oriented”.

The content of the Tool Operational Requirements is clarified. And beyond this clarification, the validation objectives create a relationship between the TOR and the certification credit claimed. Evidence should be provided that the tool, installed in the Tool Operational Environment, satisfies all of the needs of the software process.

However, there is a new objective in the table on the Qualification Liaison process, applicable at all levels: to analyze the known problems for possible impact on the Tool Operational Requirements. This may appear somewhat difficult in the absence of data from the tool vendor. But the committee felt that this analysis should be conducted to identify possible tool limitations that might reduce the certification credit claimed.

Details on “Verification Tool” Qualification Improvements” appear in a FAQ in an appendix of DO-330/ED-215 (FAQ D.6)