Does a short entry in the Federal Register signal the beginning of the end for loran? On Monday, January 8, 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard made a request for public comment on the future of the loran radionavigation system. According to the posting in the Federal Register, possible decisions on the future of loran might include: A) decommissioning the loran-C system, B) maintaining the system as it is presently configured, or C) developing a fully deployed enhanced loran (eloran) system.
Since loran already exists as a fully-functional backup to GPS and, indeed, can be used in conjunction with GPS to provide a combined radionavigation system that is better than either system used alone, its does make sense to keep the system operating. In addition, loran has a few other things going for it: No other system can detect GPS errors in real time and do so automatically, loran is being used to track containers in areas where GPS signals can’t penetrate, and the GPS system is vulnerable to interference and disruption. Also, one month is not sufficient time for interested parties to comment. The comment period should be extended to six months. Given the money spent on updating the loran system in the 1990s, the Coast Guard should undertake a thorough study of user’s needs, usage, benefits and costs.
Make your comments to Coast Guard before February 8, 2007. To avoid duplication, only use one method of comment. When commenting, refer to docket number USCG-2006-24685,
Comment via the web: http://dms.dot.gov
via letter: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Wash. D.C. 20590-0001;
via fax: 202-493-2251