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Offutt’s Tactical Air Navigation System upgraded

Airmen and contractors prepare to replace a legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) with a modern version at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

Airmen and contractors prepare to replace a legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) with a modern version at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. The TACAN is a beacon which communicates bearing and distance information to incoming aircraft within 200 nautical miles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Airmen and contractors prepare to remove a legacy Tactical Air Navigation System from its tower and replace it with a modern version at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

Airmen and contractors prepare to remove a legacy Tactical Air Navigation System from its tower and replace it with a modern version at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. This replacement is part of an Air Force-wide modernization project designed to increase reliability and save on maintenance and repair costs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Airmen and contractors guide Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) as a crane operator hoists the system off its tower at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

Airmen and contractors guide Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) as a crane operator hoists the system off its tower at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. The TACAN is a beacon which communicates bearing and distance information to incoming aircraft within 200 nautical miles. An Air Force-wide modernization project mandated the TACANs replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

From left, Senior Airman Cameron Goodloe, 55th Operations Squadron air traffic control and landing systems technician, Roberto J. Leal, Headquarters, Air Force Flight Standards Agency Regional Maintenance Center team chief, and Technical Sgt. Johnny Kiefer, HQ AFFSA Regional Maintenance Center technician, guide a Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) into place at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

From left, Senior Airman Cameron Goodloe, 55th Operations Squadron air traffic control and landing systems technician, Roberto J. Leal, Headquarters, Air Force Flight Standards Agency Regional Maintenance Center team chief, and Technical Sgt. Johnny Kiefer, HQ AFFSA Regional Maintenance Center technician, guide a Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) into place at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. The TACAN replaces a legacy version of the system, originally installed in 1994, to fulfill part of an Air Force-wide modernization project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

From left, Stephen Schroeder, Thales Communication Inc. contractor, Senior Airman Chelsea Magee and Senior Airman Marcus Martell, 55th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control and landing systems technicians, discuss how to approach replacing Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

From left, Stephen Schroeder, Thales Communication Inc. contractor, Senior Airman Chelsea Magee and Senior Airman Marcus Martell, 55th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control and landing systems technicians, discuss how to approach replacing Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. This replacement is part of an Air Force-wide modernization project designed to increase reliability and save on maintenance and repair costs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Airmen and contractors install Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) new Tactical Air Navigation System, background, at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

Airmen and contractors install Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) new Tactical Air Navigation System, background, at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. This replacement is part of an Air Force-wide modernization project designed to increase reliability and save on maintenance and repair costs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

Tim Luscom, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering equipment operator, controls a crane to replace Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017.

Tim Luscom, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering equipment operator, controls a crane to replace Offutt Air Force Base’s (AFB) legacy Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, Nov. 29, 2017. A team of Airmen and contractors, including a team from Headquarters, Air Force Flight Standards Agency Regional Maintenance Center, worked together to replace the TACAN as part of an Air Force-wide modernization project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob Skovo)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Tactical Air Navigation System, or TACAN, located on the flightline here, was replaced and upgraded as part of an Air Force wide $43M modernization project Nov. 29.

The TACAN is a beacon for aircraft within 200 nautical miles of the system providing aircrew the proper bearing and distance to assist them for their return flight to base.

The new system will increase reliability, and overall cost savings on maintenance, supportability and repair compared to the old system installed in 1994. It has a dual transmitter intersystem that the old TACAN did not provide and can provide 100 percent uptime rate, reducing overall downtime while enhancing safe flight operations.

“The legacy system had become outdated and met the end of its service life due to a strained supply chain and outdated electronics,” said Master Sgt. Nancy Murillo-Alvarez, 55th Operations Support Squadron NCO in-charge of air traffic control and landing systems. “The upgrade will definitely help with day-to-day operations due to increased reliability.”

Previously, Murillo-Alvarez’s section had been responsible for providing support and maintenance to the legacy system, but the new TACAN changes that.

“The new TACAN will be remotely monitored and about 90 percent maintained by the regional maintenance center out of Oklahoma City,” she said.

In addition to reducing the maintenance requirements for the 55th OSS, the new system will enable the regional maintenance center to perform flight checks remotely as well.

“Monetary savings is behind the regional maintenance center concept and provides the Air Force a return on investment with the modernization,” Murillo-Alvarez said. “An estimated 400 manpower positions will be superseded by the modernized system Air Force wide.”

The bulk of the upgrade effort was led by Tech. Sgt. Anita Hooper and Staff Sgt. Brian Magee of the 55th OSS’ air traffic control and landing systems team.

“Without prior project management experience, they worked very hard to comply with established deadlines for a successful project completion,” Murillo-Alvarez said. “However, without the outstanding and timely support from agencies across Team Offutt to include the 55th Communications Squadron, 55th Logistics Readiness Squadron and especially the 55th Civil Engineer Squadron, the project’s completion would not have been possible.”

The upgrade initiative falls under the Navigational Aids Family of System modernization project managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, out of Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The project began in 2015 and is expected to conclude by 2020.