The so-called "older" guys call it "omni" because VOR stands for VHF Omnidirectional Range. Its not a buzz word.
, is Distance Measureing Equipment. The name is pretty self explanatory.
TACAN stands for Tactical Air Navigation. Again, not a buzz word.
TACAN "channels" are used so people don't have to memorize the frequencies. DME
stations are also assigned channels. That's because "channel 77" is a bit easier to remember than 1164GHz.
In practice, the DME
channels are paired with VOR frequencies so they can be automatically tuned with the VHF Nav receiver.
TACAN provides continuous distance and bearing just like VOR/DME
but at different frequencies. As mentioned, it is primarily a military system but TACAN sensors are also utilized in civilian airplanes. To a lesser extent these days with the availability of GPS sensors.
TACAN is supposedly more accurate, because of antenna radiation pattern. The existance of more side lobes than a VOR transmission, creates a more even transmission pattern, that proponents claim is about 9 times more accurate than VOR/DME
. I haven't seen evidence of this however, mainly because I've only witnessed the operation of TACAN enroute where accuracy is difficult if not impossible to determine. Required accuracy isn't quite so critical in this phase of flight either.
Perhaps someone who has used TACAN for approaches can chime in.