Sometimes it’s not just the message, but who’s saying it. When the father of GPS, retired Air Force Colonel Brad Parkinson (at left) says it makes sense to leave the current loran system on and proceed with the upgrade to enhanced loran (eloran), you tend to listen. Dr. Parkinson, who famously brought squabbling teams from separate Navy and Air Force satellite navigation projects together to create the system we now know as GPS, recently headed an Independent Assessment Team (IAT) that studied backup systems to GPS. The IAT, working under the auspices of the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security just released its study. The study unequivocally states that maintaining loran and pressing ahead to deploy eloran (of which 70% is already in place) is cheaper than the costs associated with shutting the loran system down. Let’s hope that when Dr. Parkinson and his team speaks, the government listens.
According to the report: IAT Conclusions and Major Recommendation (see report charts 4, 10, 37, and 38):
â€¢ Reasonable assurance of national PNT availability is prudent and responsible policy,
needed for ubiquitous, critical safety of life and national and economic security, as well
as quality of life, applications dependent upon GPS-based PNT.
â€¢ eLoran is the only cost-effective backup for national needs; it is completely interoperable
with and independent of GPS, with different propagation and failure mechanisms, plus
significantly superior robustness to radio frequency interference and jamming. It is a
seamless backup, and its use will deter threats to US national and economic security by
disrupting (jamming) GPS reception.
â€¢ The US Government policy decision is needed to motivate users to equip and to
demonstrate continued leadership internationally.
Thus, the IAT unanimously recommends that the U.S. Government complete the eLoran upgrade and commit to eLoran as the national backup to GPS for 20 years.