Hopes that the Loran C navigation system could be developed into an automated electronic back-up to GPS have received a blow.
Hopes that the Loran C navigation system could be developed into an automated electronic back-up to GPS have received a blow as the US Coast Guard has issued formal notices allowing to decommission the system start on 8 February. The decommissioning was ordered by President Barack Obama shortly after taking office. The Coast Guard says there are other ways to to back up GPS but there is likely to be widespread concern within the shipping community.
One of the notices states: ?US Coast Guard will, commencing on or about February 8, 2010, implement plans to terminate the transmission of the Loran-C signal and commence a phased decommissioning of the Loran-C infrastructure. These plans include ending transmissions at 18 Loran stations located in the contiguous United States and six Loran stations in Alaska. The Department of Homeland Security anticipates that all Loran stations will cease transmitting the Loran-C signal by October 1, 2010.?
A notice signed by Rear Admiral Kevin Cook says: ?The Loran-C system was not established as, nor was it intended to be, a viable systemic backup for GPS. Backups to GPS for safety-of-life navigation applications, or other critical applications, can be other radio navigation systems, or operational procedures, or a combination of these systems and procedures. Backups to GPS for timing applications can be a highly accurate crystal oscillator or atomic clock and a communications link to a timing source that is traceable to Coordinated Universal Time.?
He continues: ?With respect to transportation to include aviation, commercial maritime, rail, and highway, the Department of Transportation has determined that sufficient alternative navigation aids currently exist in the event of a loss of GPS-based services, and therefore Loran currently is not needed as a back-up navigation aid for transportation safety-of-life users.?