Distance Measuring Equipment

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About Distance Measuring Equipment

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Distance measuring equipment (DME) is a transponder-based radio navigation technology that measures slant range distance by timing the propagation delay of VHF or UHF radio signals. Developed in Australia, it was invented by Edward George "Taffy" Bowen while employed as Chief of the Division of Radiophysics of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Another engineered version of the system was deployed by Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited in the early 1950s operating in the 200 MHz VHF band. This Australian domestic version was referred to by the Federal Department of Civil Aviation as DME(D) (or DME Domestic), and the later international version adopted by ICAO as DME(I). DME is similar to secondary radar, except in reverse. The system was a post-war development of the IFF (identification friend or foe) systems of World War II. To maintain compatibility, DME is functionally identical to the distance measuring component of TACAN. Aircraft use DME to determine their distance from a land-based transponder by sending and receiving pulse pairs – two pulses of fixed duration and separation. The ground stations are typically co-located with VORs.

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