Case Studies


TechFlow shows management expertise in program to refurbish mission-critical deployable-tactical air navigation systems

Fast Facts

  • The U.S. Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) is responsible for Air Force (USAF) activities across 27 nations. Its area of responsibility stretches from the Horn of Africa through the Persian Gulf and into Central Asia.
  • When AFCENT needed to retrofit and refurbish six of their aging Deployable Tactical Air Navigation (D-TACAN) systems, it contacted TechFlow.
  • TechFlow brought its extensive program management experience to the project, where it provided AFCENT fully-repaired, upgraded, mission-ready D-TACAN systems – on time, under budget, and while maintaining 100% equipment coverage for USAF operators in theater.

The Problem

USAF pilots in theater receive a continuous stream of navigation information from Deployable Tactical Air Navigation (D-TACAN) systems. They rely on this data for accurate navigation, a critical element to AFCENT ‘s ability to execute missions. D-TACAN systems provide a wholly self-contained service ability from anywhere in the world, including land, sea, or air. They are designed to operate autonomously for extended periods of time.

AFCENT had six D-TACAN units that had operated continuously for six years in a desert environment. Due to lack of resources in theater, the units received little or no maintenance during their service lives. After six years of environmental stress and neglect, AFCENT’s D-TACAN systems were a mess: suffering from corrosion damage and other defects and needed major work which could only be addressed at an OEM facility in Luton, England. AFCENT needed a highly experienced partner to help it create and execute a global program to transport, repair, upgrade, and return all six of these mission-critical D-TACAN systems to the field.

AFCENT had two primary objectives for the six D-TACAN units in need of repair: (1) To return the D-TACAN systems to the OEM manufacturer for restoration and repair of any defects, and then return the units back to AFCENT as fully functional units; and (2) to retrofit and upgrade the systems by adding an on-board backup power supply capability. Also, since these units were still in service and badly needed in theater, TechFlow and the USAF needed to design a program that maintained 100% equipment coverage during the entire repair and retrofitting process.

The Solution

Working within AFCENT’s requirements, TechFlow’s team devised a global logistics plan and timeline to repair and retrofit the six D-TACAN units. To help AFCENT achieve its objectives, TechFlow delivered a variety of services to the program, including: program design and planning; logistical support; technical oversight and consultation; cost control; quality control; management; and administrative support.

Each unit was removed from its operating location on at a time, where it would be repaired, refurbished, retrofitted, and then returned to AFCENT for deployment. AFCENT transported the D-TACAN units from locations across the Middle East and Asia to Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall in the U.K. Once there, TechFlow oversaw transportation of the units on flatbed semi-trucks, taking them from Mildenhall to an OEM facility in Luton, U.K., a 62-mile trip.

TechFlow experts thoroughly inspected each D-TACAN unit and documented its condition. They developed and submitted for USAF approval a material parts list for repairs. Once the repair materials were procured, the TechFlow team repaired, refurbished, and upgraded each unit pursuant to the agreed plan, even adding a fresh coat of paint and injecting an anti-corrosion solvent into the frame of the trailer and housing.

TechFlow’s team conducted extensive testing to ensure the unit worked—and would continue to work–as expected. After testing, TechFlow applied a transportation wax to the outside of the unit to prevent corrosion. Finally, TechFlow conducted a Factory Acceptance Test to demonstrate each D-TACAN’s operational performance, with test results being sent to AFCENT. Upon successfully completing these steps and the rigorous testing, each unit was then transported back to RAF Mildenhall for its return to service.

The process was repeated for each of the six units, which remain in service thanks to TechFlow’s passion for staying Always Ahead.


  • TechFlow’s program has now successfully repaired and upgraded each of the six D-TACAN units.
  • These D-TACAN units were delivered on time and under budget, returning six critical pieces of equipment to AFCENT for use in theater.
  • Other organizations in need of custom-built program management services can expect similar results when they partner with TechFlow.