TACAN To Provide More Precise Navigation For The Polish Air Force

23 listopada 2015, 15:40
Mobile TACAN suite - Image Credit: www.maw.pl
Stationary TACAN system, at the 43rd Naval Air Station in Gdynia Babie Doły, Image Credit: Czesław Cichy/BLMW

The Armament Inspectorate started a procedure, the aim of which is to acquire six mobile TACAN navigation systems for the Polish Air Force. The devices are going to be placed at six Polish Air Force Bases.

The acquired packages are going to become equipment of six military airbases, within the period between 2016 and 2018. The new system is going to be used in case of the following airbases: Mińsk Mazowiecki and Powidz (2016), Tomaszów Mazowiecki and Łęczyca (2017), and finally, Świdwin and Inowrocław (2018).

The newly procured TACAN (tactical air navigation) systems are going to be used to automatically measure the heading and distance from the aircraft, to the location in which the system is set up.

Each of the bundles is going to include a container with electronic equipment, manually operated antenna raising system, with a maximum height of 5 meters for the antenna, fitted with a mechanical blockade, along with a proper energy generator, capable of providing at least 17 hours uninterrupted power supply (with a single fuel tank fuel quantity – the system is to be used with fuel, in cases when no grid power is available).

Polish Air Force requires the systems to be installed on a twin-axle trailer, tailored to be towed on the public roads, with a hook which would be compatible with medium and heavy-weight trucks, used by the Polish Army. The whole system shall also be deployable by air, with the use of C-130 Hercules class transport aircraft.

The Armament Inspectorate also requires the subject of the agreement to include:

  • carrying out all of the measurements required, within the scope of selection of a location for all of the TACAN systems;
  • delivering and development of the TACAN systems;
  • launching the system;
  • checking the setup correctness and carrying out thhe actions required to execute an airborne audit, which is placed within the area of responsibility of a respective department of the Ministry of Defence
  • delivering the spare parts, required to realize potential emergency repairs;
  • delivering a single logistics package, for the needs of the military repair services (one for each six TACAN systems delivered);
  • carrying out specialized training sessions (technical, training sessions for instructors and operators), should the delivered TACAN packages significantly differ from the 2010 version, currently operated by the Polish Armed Forces.

Request placing deadline, regarding inclusion in the proceedings, expires on Dec. 18th 2015.

What is being acquired by the Polish Armed Forces?

TACAN system constitutes an important navigation aid. By providing positioning data to the aircraft crews (heading and distance data), the system makes it possible to precisely follow the routes and maintain a high level of accuracy, when it comes to the spacial orientation. This increases the flight safety and makes it easier for the pilots, to execute their tasks.

Ground based TACAN stations are delivered in a stationary, permanent or in a mobile variant (mounted on trailers, being possible to be airlifted).

A typical TACAN suite operates with the use of impulse signals, within the bandwidth of 962 – 1213 Mhz (transmission) and 1025 – 1150 Mhz (reception). Due to the fact that within the aforementioned bandwidths, the waves travel in straight lines, the range is limited by the radar detection horizon, hence it is very much dependent on the altitude of the aircraft and on the conditions, within which the wave propagation process takes place (maximum range is close to 300-400 km). Accuracy of the system is largely dependent on its location on the ground. In most cases, TACAN provides data, resolution of which is 1 degree when it comes to the heading and ca. 180 meters in case of determining the distances.

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