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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Will Loran Make a Comeback?

The short answer is: It already has in Northern Europe and elsewhere.

Enhanced-Loran (eLoran) is the upgraded version of Loran-C. Although President Obama cut funding for the USCG's oversight and manning of Loran stations in the US in 2009, contributing to the complete phasing out of Loran-C transmissions in North America in 2010, government and other studies have provided convincing evidence that the land-based radio-navigation system is the only available back-up, as well as the most viable navigational adjunct, to the GPS satellite network currently serving as the world's primary signal delivery system. Furthermore the Loran signal is a more robust signal than that which comes from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which makes it less vulnerable to interference or jamming.

The Department for Transport in the UK approved eLoran and provided the necessary funds to make the system fully operational by the summer of 2014. And the Independent Assessment Team (IAT) of the Institute for Defense Analysis has shown that the cost of dismantling and phasing out of Loran in the U.S. will actually exceed the cost of upgrading to eLoran.

Enhanced-Loran has become even more important as a result of the Obama administration's retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and its cutting back on funding to NASA. According to the GAO, the GPS upgrade program is about three years behind schedule.

Tell this administration through your congressmen that it should approve funding for programs that directly impact this country's strength and security. If they think it's critical for mariners and others in the UK and Northern Europe, this administration should think it's equally important for us here in America.

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