15 May 2019

Military Aviation Authority to change requirements for airworthiness

The Military Aviation Authority (MAA) will change the requirements for the design and airworthiness of service aircraft to improve safety.

The MAA will update the ‘Design and Airworthiness Requirements for Service Aircraft’ or Defence Standard 970/DS970 to reflect modern aviation. This mirrors regulations for commercial aircraft, which are regularly reviewed and updated.

The MAA maintains the position that DS970 is the benchmark design and airworthiness standard for UK military air systems and, through regulation, should be used as the primary certification code, but several alternative mechanisms to support certification were reviewed and concluded that the UK MOD should continue to own an aircraft certification standard, but that it should be redeveloped and transformed into a specification more suited to certification. To achieve this, DS970 would refer to civil European certification specifications where these could be shown to be suitable in the military context.

The redevelopment of DS970 is being undertaken through a transformation project that will deliver a document that is focussed on airworthiness outcomes and better suited for use in certification; it refers to internationally recognised airworthiness codes which have additional ‘military deltas’ applied where necessary. Feedback from both the regulated community and industry highlighted the need to retain the existing DS970 3-column format, clearly identifying Requirements, Compliance, and Guidance, as this was preferred over the approach adopted by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in their Certification Specification (CS).

The transformation of DS970Part 7 (Rotorcraft) was completed in June 2018 and has been quickly adopted by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Delivery Teams (DT) for the certification of new helicopters in conjunction with EASA CS29. The transformed DS970 Part 1 (Fast Jet Air Systems) will follow later this year.

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