NATO HAWK Management Office Accelerates Analysis of Mission-Critical Applications
- Reliable software delivered on time
- Error-prone constructs eliminated
- Test effectiveness increased
The NATO HAWK Management Office (NHMO) is in charge of improvement programs for the HAWK surface-to-air missile system. HAWK provides medium-range, low-to-medium-altitude air defense against a variety of targets, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cruise missiles.
NHMO maintains a wide range of complex applications that run mission-critical systems. To meet strict reliability standards, the NHMO team must identify and eliminate run-time errors. The complexity of the group’s systems, however, made finding these errors with conventional testing difficult and costly. NHMO engineers used Polyspace® products for Ada to accelerate testing and automatically analyze their software to pinpoint run-time errors.
“Polyspace products provided NHMO with a trump card to cope with undermanning and heavy commitments,” says Mr. Castrataro, general director of NHMO. “We have successfully preserved, and even increased, our expertise and effectiveness in preparing and maintaining complex and highly reliable software.”
Faced with approaching deadlines, NHMO needed a faster way to find and repair run-time errors. “We were upgrading a critical system that had to be available at a moment’s notice. Taking it offline for a prolonged period was not an option,” says Mario Lalla, director of the Software Solution Center at NHMO. We needed to prioritize our code review process in order to take care of the most probable errors first.”
The team was also concerned about the thoroughness of its conventional testing process. “In a complex application, using test cases is just not enough to exhaustively test all the values that could trigger a run-time error,” Lalla adds. “Randomly pursuing every potential error through conventional testing would not have allowed us to meet our deadlines.”
NHMO wanted to perform an exhaustive analysis of the application’s dynamics and use the information to pinpoint reliability problems.
The NHMO team used Polyspace products to analyze their software and locate run-time errors in their source code.
On an early project, the team evaluated the effectiveness of Polyspace products by running two tests in parallel. While most of the team conducted tests using the group’s conventional methods, one engineer used Polyspace products. The engineer testing with Polyspace products detected all the defects identified through conventional testing, and found additional problems that the conventional testing team had missed.
NHMO engineers then used Polyspace products to create a complete map of their code, which they used to review and prioritize reliability issues. The team addressed the most critical errors first. They also identified problematic code constructs that were likely to produce run-time errors, enabling them to rapidly eliminate potential problems throughout their application.
NHMO continues to use Polyspace products to further refine debugging strategies and enable rapid improvements.
Reliable software delivered on time. “Polyspace products have enabled us to attain a superior level of software reliability—on-time and on-budget. We could not have done so much, so fast, by relying solely on conventional testing,” says Castrataro.
Error-prone constructs eliminated. “When we found that a particular construct was likely to lead to an error, we used Polyspace products to quickly identify all similar constructs in the rest of the code. We could then address many bugs at once, which was a great time saver,” says Lalla.
Test effectiveness increased. “We have successfully preserved, and even increased, our expertise and effectiveness in preparing and maintaining complex and highly reliable software,” says Castrataro. Lalla adds, “Polyspace products detected all the potential errors that were confirmed by conventional testing—plus many more.”