The embedded software has played an increasing role in safety-critical systems. At the same time the current development process of “build, then integrate” has proven unaffordable for the Aerospace industry. This paper outlines challenges in safety-critical embedded systems in addressing system-level faults that are currently discovered late in the development life cycle. We then discuss an architecture-centric approach to model-based engineering, i.e., to complement the validation of systems with analysis of different operational quality aspects from an architecture model. A key technology in this approach is the Architecture Analysis & Design Language (AADL), an SAE International standard for embedded software system. It supports analysis of operational qualities such as responsiveness, safety-criticality, security, and reliability through model annotations. A number of industry initiatives have been underway to demonstrate the feasibility of using this technology in industrial practice.