Will loran make it to the 21st century?

The debate on when loran will be shut off continues. The Departmentof Transportation (DOT) is calling for public comment on the future of the system. Presently slated for decommissioning in December 2000, as recommended by the 1996 Federal Radionavigation Plan, loran service possibly will continue, according to DOT reports.

A congressionally mandated review will begin with a conference in September and a comment period until December 1997.

Proponents of the system argue that differential GPS (DGPS) broadcasts, while very accurate, are not as reliable as they should be and that there are many areas that have no backup coverage should the DGPS radiobeacon go off the air. When used together, loran and GPS offer a highly accurate and reliable system with few coverage gaps, according to Bill Brogdon, president of the International Loran Association, who is leading the rally to save loran.

Brogdon also points out that 1.2 million loran-C receivers have been purachased at a cost of half a billion dollars. The units were bought, according to Brogdon, while the official policy stated loran service would operate until 2015.

Send comments to: DOT Loran-C Study Comments, c/o Joseph R. Davis, Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., 8251 Greensboro Dr., McLean, Va. 22102; e-mail: loran@bah.com; fax: 703-917-3023.

By Ocean Navigator