Thales to supply RF and microwave antennas for aircraft navigation and guidance aboard surface warships

June 19, 2024
TACAN military aircraft navigation systems provide bearing and distance to an RF and microwave station on the ground or aboard naval ships.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy combat aviation experts needed antennas and other RF and microwave equipment to upgrade aircraft navigation and guidance capability aboard Navy ships. They found a solution from Thales USA in Overland Park, Kan.

Officials of Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $10.5 million contract to Thales on Monday for 11 OE-4691 tactical air navigation (TACAN) antenna systems for Navy aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, destroyers, frigates, and shore sites.

In addition to the antennas, the contract includes 196 high power assemblies, 49 low power assemblies, and 49 remote monitor and maintenance controllers, as well as associated data, to upgrade existing shipboard TACAN systems.

Related: Navy asks BAE Systems to build F/A-18 aircraft antennas that cut through enemy GPS jamming

A part of the contract is for TACAN support for new ship construction of all air capable ships, providing range and bearing information to equipped aircraft.

TACAN and related shipboard Landing Systems provide all-weather airborne instrument recovery for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, including precision approach and landing capabilities, ship-relative navigation, and non-precision approach capabilities.

The Tactical Air Navigation System (TACAN) military aircraft navigation system provides bearing and distance to an RF and microwave station on the ground or aboard naval ships.

Related: L3Harris to design long-range communications through mosaic antennas composed of small transceiver elements

TACAN essentially, it is a more accurate version of the VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) and distance-measuring equipment (DME) radio beacon that provides bearing and range information for commercial and general-aviation aircraft.

Military aircraft use TACAN for enroute navigation and non-precision approaches to airports, landing fields, and ships equipped to land aircraft.

On this contract Thales will do the work in Salt Lake City, and should finish by November 2026. For more information contact Thales USA online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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