Indra to provide portable air traffic management (ATM) to military aircraft operating at remote air fields

May 20, 2024
The MP TACAN portable ATM system will replace the Air Force's AN/TRN-41 TACAN systems, which have been in service for the past 50 years.

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – U.S. U.S. Air Force aircraft navigation and guidance experts needed advanced lightweight air-droppable autonomous tactical air navigation (TACAN) to provide air traffic management (ATM) in remote areas. They found their solution from Indra Air Traffic Inc. in Overland Park, Kan.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., announced a maximum $198.4 million contract to Indra earlier this month for the man-portable Tactical Air Navigation (MP TACAN) system replacement program.

The MP TACAN portable ATM system will replace the Air Force's AN/TRN-41 TACAN systems, which have been in service for the past 50 years. The AN/TRN-41 provides line-of-sight coverage only, and maintaining the ATM system has become manpower-intensive and logistically unsustainable, Air Force officials say.

Related: Lockheed Martin air traffic management COTS automation system For Republic Of Kazakhstan operational

The new MP TACAN will use transponder signals to sustain airborne navigation for military aircraft operating from remote air fields. The system will provide bearing, facility identification, and distance information to nearby aircraft. Military leaders consider the MP TACAN to be essential for military operations.

TACAN is a military UHF navigation aid operating around 1000 MHz. The ranging function of TACAN and distance measuring equipment (DME) beacons is identical in operation as their transponders receive one signal and emit a different signal in response. TACAN also provides bearing information to military aircraft as a continuous transmission.

Indra will maintain and manage the MP TACAN Replacement program by integrating its Integrated Master Schedule (IMS), and will handle program control, quality assurance, configuration management, risk management, and security.

Related: Airport authorities seek to electronically link ground vehicles in unprecedented ways

Indra is responsible for providing MP TACAN systems, spares, support equipment and tools, interim hardware and software maintenance, training, and technology upgrades. The five-year contract has a two-year option and will have a minimum order of five MP TACAN systems.

On this contract Indra will do the work in Hurricane, Utah, and Overland Park, Kan., and should be finished by 2032. Indra Air Traffic Inc. is a subsidiary of Indra in Alcobendas, Spain.

For more information contact Indra online at, or the The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center 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.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!