WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, Sept. 11, 2006 – Technicians from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s civil engineering, operations support and cargo support and Air Force Materiel Command’s customer service team from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., teamed up Aug. 28 through Sept. 1 to install a new tactical air navigation system near the base runways.
TACAN systems transmit range and bearing information by means of long distance, rotating beams, enabling aviators to accurately assess their position.
The new TACAN device here replaces an older, more labor-intensive system in place since the early 1980s.
It’s more efficient and its maintenance is performed remotely from Eglin. Air Force Materiel Command officials said the plan is to install the new generation TACAN command-wide, and Eglin received the first one earlier this year.
A military version of the very high frequency omnidirectional range/distance measuring equipment system for civil aircraft, the new TACAN is a third-generation navigation aid. Its 1,000-watt system replaced a 3,000-watt system, and it features a new antenna and fewer instrument banks.
According to Jim Frederick, one of six technicians from Eglin who was here for the installation, the system is made by Fernau of England.
“It allows us to cut worker manning across Air Force Materiel Command by centralizing the maintenance with a small group of people at Eglin,” Frederick said. “For a few people here (at Wright-Patterson), TACAN is now just an additional duty of building maintenance.”
He added that the reduced manpower requirement here meant the conversion of military slots to civilian ones, which freed up military slots for other duties.