This summary incorporates the most significant events in the history of the Decca Navigator Company.


1914    DECCA name used by Barnett Samuel for portable gramophone.

1928    Barnett Samuel becomes a public company and changes name to The Decca Gramophone Co.

1929    Edward Lewis forms Malden Holding Co to buy Duophone record factory at Shannon Corner for
            selling-on to Decca.  Decca refuses Lewis’s offer.

1929    (Feb 28th)  Malden Holdings Co.decides to go into record manufacture itself and buys Decca
            Gramophone Co. to get access to name and marketing organisation.

1932    Decca buys UK Brunswick for whom Harvey Schwarz had been working. Harveystays on to design
            a new radio receiver for Decca.

1937    W.J. O'Brien in USA investigates methods of measuring the absolute velocity of aircraft. Chooses
            phase-comparison between pairs of CW stations. US Army and Navy turn it down as too complicated.

1939    September.  O'Brien sends Schwarz details of his system to offer UK military.

1939    October  Offer refused by Tizard and Watson-Watt in favour of the GEE system.

1941    February/July.  Lewis sends HFS to test system in California; 300/600 kHz.

1942    July.  Admiralty requests demonstration. W. J. O’Brien comes to UK.

1942    September 16th First marine demonstration at Anglesey. 305/610 kHz. Phase comparison at 1220 kHz.

1943    Frequencies changed to 70-130 kHz; original freqs “too sensitive”.Operation at 200 miles demonstrated.

1944    January 21st  Second marine demonstration in North Irish Sea.

1944    February 20th   Full-scale 3-station trial use in practice landings, Scotland.

1944    March   Decca requested to build 27 receivers and three sets transmitter control units.

1944    June 6th  Decca used in 21 minesweepers and other vessels in D-day landings.

1944   October  Chain moved to Scheldt Estuary. QM2 battery-operated receiver developed.

1945   May 22nd  First airborne tests made by RAE Photographic Section Lancaster JA876 using QM1

(1945  July. Ground demos to Commonwealth and Empire Conference on Civil Aviation. Demos to PICAO)  -
           does not correspond to Attwell info.

1945   August.   Admiralty requests chain to cover Thames Estuary for minesweeping.

1945   August   Chain returned to Southern UK and re-established on South Coast at Sennen, Branscombe and
           Southbourne, 140 and 70 miles baselines.

1945   Aug 27   RAE Lancaster JA 876 flies via Anglesey; obtains 400 ft accuracy based on photography.

1945   Sept 12  JA 876 flies to Gibraltar (t.o. 0945, landed 1805) QM still working at Gib but red dial “erratic”

1945   September  Decca taken off secret list. Decca buys outright all rights to system for £50,000. World
           patents obtained.

1945   November 7th   The Decca Navigator Co. Ltd., formed as a subsidiary of The Decca Record Co. Ltd.

1946   July   First permanent chain of 3 transmitting stations covering the Thames estuary on air. (No Lane

1946   Decca Navigator first flew in an RAF Lancaster.  It carried out flight trials ranging down to Gibraltar and
           the Azores.

1947   January   Ministry of Transport approves Decca for navigational purposes conditional on development of
            Lane Identification.

1947   May.    International approval to the system given by IMMRAN.

1947   July    Demonstration of Mk. 5 Lane Identification system.

1947   Mk VI - first true airborne receiver with Lane Identification and suppressed “plate” aerial. MCA flight
           trials commenced.

1948   RAF fits PR aircraft at Benson for OS mapping UK.

1949   Notam advising Mk VI as an authorised aid to navigation. Weighs 100 lbs; First rotating-drum Flight Log.

1949   Prototype Ambassador fitted with Mk 6 and flight log.

1949   Demonstration of Flight Log at Ashbury Pk, NY.

1951   Decca purchases Avro Anson Mk 19 G-AGPB

1951   MCA demonstrates Decca and Flight Log  in Marathon and Anson  aircraft

1951   Avro Ashton fitted with Decca

1951   Brabazon test aircraft fitted.

1951   Stated to be “over 50" aircraft now using Decca

1952   March BEA fits Viscount 700 fleet with Mk VII receiver and Flight Log
1954   March Patent obtained on Mk 10 system of Lane Identification.

1955   Decca adopted for “Operation Grapple” - nuclear bomb tests at Christmas Is. 8 Valiants and
          10 Shackletons fitted with Mk 8 rxs and flight logs.

1957   RAF adopts Decca for 2TAF Canberras - Operation “Fledgling”, 990 Rx.

1958   - Decca demonstration aircraft Anson Mk 19 G-AGWE moves from Croydon to Biggin Hill.
           - February 10: Decca registers Valetta aircraft G-APKR in February.

1958   - March 10:  Decca HQ moves from Brixton Rd to Albert Embankment.

1960   Anson sold; Percival Prince Mk 1 (G-ALWH) purchased

1960   Cambrian, Silver City, BKS Airways equipped with Decca. Silver City Bristol Freighters fitted with Mk 9
            receiver and Flight Logs.

1962   BEA adopts Decca for helicopter services - Paris and Scilly Islands.

1963   March Demonstrations of Omnitrac 2/Flight Log/Data Link

1963   June Roller Maps 9275/9475 introduced

1964   US DoD installs Mk 8A Decca Navigator in Vietnam (2200 equipments)

1964   BKS using Mk 10 in Ambassador.

1963   Oct.  Valetta retired

1963   RAF fits Doppler 62 to DH125, Avro 748, VC-10

1964   March. Decca buys Ambassador aircraft from King of Morocco G-ALZP.Originally with BEA 1951

1964   Sep 23.  Ambassador aircraft leaves for US tour.

1964   Mid-Dec. Returns to UK

1964   BUA fit Decca in VC-10's. Cost £30K per aircraft.

1965   Decca fitted to North Sea oil exploration helicopters.

1965   NY Airways obtains approval for use of Decca in helicopters. Two Mk 8/Flight Logs per aircraft

1965   Decca acquires Bell 47G

1966   Mobile Decca chain used for crop spraying in Louisiana. Dectra Mk 2

1966   Danish Air Force fits Mk 8/Flight Logs to helicopters.

1966   RAF fits Andovers with Navigator/Flight Log/Doppler 62/Roller Map

1967   Flying Tigers fits DC8-63F fleet with Omnitrac (VOR/Doppler inputs)

1967   Seaboard World Airlines fits fleet with Decca/Dectra.
           BOAC fits VC-10 with Omnitrac/Loran-C
           Eastern Airlines fits DC-9 with Omnitrac VOR/DME

1967   May 17/18 NATCS demonstrations at Heathrow of Omnitrac with Decca and, VOR/DME coupling.

1967   66 RAF Hercules to be fitted with Decca Navigator/Loran-C/Doppler.Sept 26 36 Sqdn demonstration.

1967   French Air Force evaluate Doppler type 72 for Jaguar.A & AEE ditto.

1968   May -  BEA fits Trident fleet with Omnitrac, Mk 16 Decca.
           Nov -  BEA 1-11 fleet fitted with Omnitrac/Mk 16

1968   Aug. Eastern commences STOL evaluation of Omnitrac with Mk 16 and vertical guidance.

1969   Decca/Arma agreement to develop Omnitrac 5 system for L-1011

1970   Nov 2nd.  Harvey Schwarz retires.

1984   April 11th.  W. J. O’Brien dies at age 76.

1988   April 23rd.  Harvey Schwarz dies at age 82.

1972   USAF fits T43 (737) with Decca Loran-C ADL-21 (6 sets per aircraft) (AN-ARN-109)

1972   FAA evaluates Decca/Ambac MONA system aboard Tristar

1972   Decca TANS plus Doppler 71 for RN/Army helicopters.

1974   Sept Decca Omega rx at Farnbro show

1974   Oct      Saudi, C Pacific and Gulf airlines select MONA for 1011

1974   Decca buys Jetstream G-AWVK

1974   Oct RAF Vulcans fitted with Doppler 72 win USAF bombing competition.

1975   “Over 100" MONA systems sold.

1975   Doppler 71/TANS system installed on Puma helicopter.

1975   ADL-81/TANS evaluated on Jetstream

1975   Omega receiver flown on Jetstream aircraft.

1976   April 29. Decca Doppler 80 evaluated at Boscombe Down for Gazelle.

1976  MONA aboard BA, Cathay Pacific, Saudi, Delta, All-Nippon L-1011's

DECCA NAVIGATOR CHAINS  (List not complete)

1946  English

1948  Danish

1951  N. British

1952  German; SW British

1953  French

1956  N Scottish

1957  Canada - 4 chains; Swedish

1958  Jan 24 Contract for erection of NY chain signed by AMB USA

1959  Calcutta chain; Bombay Chain

1960  N Persian Gulf

1961  S Persian Gulf

1962  N and S Bothnian; Bombay

1963  New York chain.

1964  Calcutta; NW Spanish

1967  June Icelandic Dectra station added.
          May 27. First Norwegian chain - Finnmark; June 2 Skagerrak chain
          First Japanese chain - Hokkaido

1968 May 14 Formal opening of six Norwegian Decca chains.
         Aug Contract signed for Californian Decca chain.
         Norway - 6 chains; Frisian Is; Demonstration chain Great Lakes.

1969  Kyushu

1970  Baltic; S Africa - 2 chains; Pt Hedland

1971  S Africa - 3 chains; Gulf of Finland

1972  Holland; Dampier;  S African Cape chain

1973  31 May Irish Chain opens

1974   Hebridean Chain; Northumbrian Chain

1975  Northumbrian; Dumai; Bangladesh; Hebridean

1976  Tohoku; Salaya; S Spain; Nigeria - 4 chains


1958  Decca Data Link development initiated.

1959  Loran-C AN-SPN31 designed for the US Navy. Built in USA by Continental(?)

1962  Nov 27 Introduction of Mk 12 marine rx.

1963  Marine fittings = 8000   Air fittings = 600

1964  Doppler type 62

1966  Doppler Type 70 initiated

1966  Loran-C type ADL-21 demonstrated in Ambassador aircraft.
           200 units purchased for RAF.

1967  Loran-C Type DL-21 built for RN.

1967  New range solid-state receivers.
          Mk 14 air rx - simple set; no LI
          Mk 15 air rx -  ZI, auto LI uses cptr 1910
          Mk 16 air rx - uses Omnitrac
          Mk 17 air rx - uses Omnitrac and has Dectra
          Mk 18 marine rx -
          Mk 19 air rx - dual purpose. Can emulate either Mk 8A or Mk 15. Use cptr 9360

1968  First Decca Doppler Type 70; originally for TSR-2

1969  Danac computer introduced.

1969  MANGS (Decca/Omnitrac Modular Area Navigation Guidance and Attitude System)

1969  Omnitrac/Doppler 72/SGP 500 inertial hybrid introduced

1970  Navigator Mk 25 - Map-only display for light aircraft.

1970  Loran-C ADL-23 introduced.

1971  TANS computer

1972  Decca Doppler Type 72 for MRCA (forerunner of Tornado)

1972  Decca NDB marketed.

1974  Decca DL-91 Loran-C

1975  Doppler 80 for helicopters.

1977  USCG names DL-91 as current procurement standard for non-military Loran-C receivers.

1978  First Decca Satellite Navigator - DS2

1980  Second Decca Satnav - DS3

1980  Decca Loran-C 1024

1980  Decca sells 31 ILS to RAF (Wilcox under licence)

1964  Decca Data Link demonstrated at SBAC Show

1972  Marine Plotter 350T marketed (transistorised 350)

1976  Decca Doppler VHF Omnirange (DVOR)


1946  First Decca yacht “Abedonia” purchased for demonstration work.

1946 Oct DFDS Kronprins Frederick fitted with Decca

1947 Feb 26 First Mk 4 rx fitted to mv “Rogate” (Stephenson Clarke Shipping)

1947  “Abedonia” replaced with Harbour Defence Motor Launch “Navigator”

1947  First Survey chain installed in Greenland.

1949  Survey work for offshore oil started.

1957  Fittings 4100. Practically linear increase since late 1945.

1965 July Hifix coupled to Omnitrac

1968  MY Navigator returns from 6-month tour of USA

1964 July Decca HiFix used for Channel Tunnel survey.

1965 Oct . M.Y.. Navigator replaced by new Navigator (Camper and Nicholson)

1969  Ships fitted said to be “over 14,000"

1969  Nov Mk 21 introduced.

1974   Fittings now 20,000


1965  88 Bushey Rd acquired.

1976  Decca Software Sciences Ltd   (Decca 80%, SSL 20%)

1953  Decca Navigator Co (Canada)

1969  March Decca companies in USA bought by ITT. Become ITT Navigator Systems Inc
          and ITT Decca Marine.

1975  Flight Navigation Ltd. (Decca/Smiths Ind.)

Acknowledgment: This list was provided by  Walter Blanchard.

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