Airworthiness Certification verifies that a specific air vehicle can be safely maintained and operated within its described flight envelope.  It shows the air vehicle can safely attain, sustain, and terminate a flight in accordance with approved usage limits (range, speed, weight, altitude, safety). This certification is required for any fixed-wing and unmanned vehicle that is new, or gone through any type of modifications to its configuration and/or envelope.


The Airworthiness Certification requirements are listed in multiple of DoD Guides, Handbooks, Mil-Standards, Instructions, and Regulations. Below is a list of the main ones and their content.


  • MIL-HDBK-516B, Airworthiness Certification Criteria, 5 Feb 2004: MIL-HDBK-516 establishes the airworthiness certification criteria to be used in the determination of airworthiness of all manned and unmanned, fixed and rotary-wing air vehicle systems. It is a foundational document to be used by the system program manager, chief/lead systems engineer, and contractors to define their air system’s airworthiness certification basis.
  • Joint Service Specification Guides (JSSGs) (available via US DoD ASSIST): The complete set of JSSGs and their respective handbooks establish a common framework to be used by Government-Industry Program Teams in the Aviation Sector for developing program unique requirements documents for Air Systems, Air Vehicles, and major Subsystems. Each JSSG contains a compilation of candidate references, generically stated requirements, verification criteria, and associated rationale, guidance, and lessons learned for program team consideration. The JSSGs identify typical requirements for a variety of aviation roles and missions.
    • JSSG-2000 Air System
    • JSSG-2001 Air Vehicle
    • JSSG-2005 Avionic Subsystem, Main Body
    • JSSG-2006 Aircraft Structures
    • JSSG-2007 Engines, Aircraft, Turbine
    • JSSG-2008 Vehicle Control and Management System (VCMS)
    • JSSG-2009 Air Vehicle Subsystems
    • JSSG-2010 Crew Systems



AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 9/27/2017

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