Loran (and eloran) on the block?

Following an endorsement of enhanced loran (eloran) by the International Loran Association and by an 11-member FAA Independent Assessment Team in recent years, last year the outgoing Bush Administration included language in its fiscal 2009 budget for the implementation of eloran as a highly effective backup to GPS under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. That was good news for eloran startup shop Crossrate Technology, which has developed a combined eloran/GPS receiver. Further auspicious news for Crossrate came in mid-February when its eloran/GPS reciver won honorable mention at the Miami Boat Show’s Innovation awards.
    But on February 26, Vice-Admiral V. S. Crea, vice commandant and chief operating officer of the U.S. Coast Guard sent out a letter to all Coast Guard personnel that states, among other things, that the loran system has been identified by the new Obama Administration as a area for budget cutting (see more here). According to the administration’s fiscal year 2010 budget, closing down loran will reportedly save $36 million in 2010 and $190 million over five years.
    Whether loran will actually be closed down remains to be seen. There are good reasons to keep the system going since it is a relatively low cost and highly accurate backup to GPS for navigation and timing. Given the current economic climate, however, many Federal programs are being looked at for trimming or elimination. Shutting down loran, however, seems like a “penny wise, pound foolish” move.

By Ocean Navigator