DARD Consulting Limited (DARD) is a small business established by Duncan Dowling in 2010 following 12 years working for Altran Praxis Ltd (formerly Praxis Critical Systems). Duncan's experience and consequently the services offered by DARD Consulting are in the areas of systems engineering, system risk assessment and software engineering for applications in domains such as Aerospace, Rail and Defence, that are typified by being operationally risky, regulated and complex.

I am always interested in hearing about new opportunities. Especially those which are stimulating, challenging, fun and worthwhile. Please get in touch to discuss whatever project challenges you may be facing. If I can't help I may know someone who can!

Duncan's Expertise

Duncan is a versatile and enthusiastic Chartered Engineer whose specialities include systems, safety and software engineering of complex applications in highly regulated domains. He has nearly 25 years' experience in the UK and overseas on large and small projects - mainly in the Rail (application of ETCS in particular), Aerospace, and Defence sectors and, to a lesser extent, Nuclear. He is experienced in all lifecycle phases of delivering and assessing complex, critical, software/data-intensive systems.

Duncan thrives working on challenging projects, delivering value and engaging with people at all levels both inside and outside of the organisation. He is confident working either as team leader, team member or external/independent consultant. Duncan is always looking to improve his performance and that of the people around him.

Below is a summary of the recent/main projects that Duncan has been involved in. More details can be found in his 'full CV' - available here.

JET Duncan is working at RACE, a division of UKAEA, to assist in the specification and engineering of new robotic systems to enable remote maintenance of the JET fusion reactor.

Duncan worked with Network Rail on the Western ETCS project to ensure that changes made to overlay ETCS L2 onto the existing infrastructure near Paddington are safe to be installed and operated. This entailed liaising with approval bodies, independent assessors and suppliers to ensure that hazards are adequately controlled and managed.


Duncan worked with engineers at Network Rail to identify the requirements for an ETCS Key Management Centre (KMC) for use on NR's Thameslink project. Duncan subsequently developed and delivered the KMC to the project and trained relevant personnel. The KMC enables the project to generate and distribute ETCS encryption keys (KTRANS and KMAC) to ETCS equipment i.e. the trains' EVCs and the RBC, which are subsequently used to secure the data communications between the trains and RBC.

More information about this tool is available here.

Thameslink Duncan helped Siemens Rail Automation on the Thameslink programme in developing their ETCS/ATO solution to enable smooth and safe running of ETCS trains through the 'core area' near London Bridge station.

His main areas of responsibility include: reviewing/analysing customer requirements, requirements tracing (using DOORS/Artisan), development of system models (performance and behaviour) and interface requirements to show that the integration of tailored off-the-shelf products satisfy the customer's functional and non-functional requirements, support design reviews and support suppliers to ensure that requirements can and are shown to be achieved.

Duncan was also responsible for generating compliance arguments that Siemens' ETCS trackside signalling system complies with the Control, Command and Signalling TSI and applicable NNTRs. This involved understanding the requirements in the various TSI Subsets / standards, liaising with technical experts, documenting the compliance approach/evidence to show compliance and presenting/agreeing this information with NR and the DeBo/NoBo. As a result of this work, the system has been authorised by the ORR.

F35A Aircraft

Duncan was software architect for a critical subsystem for the F-35 Lightning II (JSF) to be certified to DO-178B (2008-2010). Duncan maintained the Software Architecture and worked with the Client to resolve technical issues and define/agree software changes. Prior to this role Duncan spent 9 months forming the development team and defining the detailed design processes before parenthood intervened, after which Duncan completed the detailed design and implementation of one of the major subsystems.


Duncan led a team carrying out the safety assessment for the WATCHKEEPER UAV system in accordance with Defence Standard 00-56 (2003, 2004-2008). The team carried out risk identification, analysis, safety requirements specification, and audited/assessed/supported the supply chain, derived system/sub-system safety requirements and produced early versions of the System Safety Case. The role involved negotiation and liaison with numerous stakeholders within Thales and the MoD.


Duncan carried out system-level analysis for the Electrical and Mechanical (E&M) equipment for a new railway line from Seoul to Incheon International Airport. This was carried out in South Korea for Alstom Transport. Duncan led a small group to produce a model of the system architecture and define how the sub-systems interact to achieve the required functionality.