Tag Archives: Loran-C

Experts, lawmakers resist cancelation of eLoran upgrade

From NextGov:

Congress and the geospatial industry are voicing opposition to President Obama’s proposal to kill a decades-old navigational system that could serve as a backup to the popular and prevalent GPS.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, [questioned] Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano about the administration’s plan to cancel the enhanced Long Range Aid to Navigation system (eLoran) at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs [..]

A report completed in January by an independent assessment team chaired by Bradford Parkinson, considered the father of GPS, and not publicly released, concluded that eLoran was the only cost-effective back up to satellite-based GPS and it would deter threats to U.S. national and economic security by jamming signals.

The report, prepared for the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded research firm, and obtained by Nextgov, said top officials from the Defense Department, DHS and the Office of Management and Budget concluded after briefings in 2006 and 2007 that eLoran was “the only alternative [to GPS] meeting the technical requirements at a reasonable cost.”

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Concern and debate over future of U.S. positioning systems

From NextGov:

The same day the that the Obama administration confirmed it planned to cancel a GPS backup system, the Government Accountability Office issued a report warning that delays in launching new satellites could imperil the performance of the navigational system.

In his budget issued on May 7, President Obama recommended killing the Long-Range Navigation System, or Loran-C, which the Coast Guard operates. The administration argued the government should not fund the system because it is obsolete technology, and the United States no longer needs it because GPS has “superior capabilities.”

But at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s National Security Subcommittee, GAO warned that GPS performance could start to degrade next year. Delays in the development and launch of two GPS satellites could reduce the number of satellites in orbit to below the minimum 24 that are needed to provide precise location information, Cristina Chaplain, director of acquisition and sourcing management at GAO, told the panel.

“The estimated long-term probability of maintaining a constellation of at least 24 operational satellites falls below 95 percent during fiscal year 2010 and remains below 95 percent until the end of fiscal year 2014, at times falling below 80 percent,” she said.

If the number of GPS satellites drops below 24, Chaplain said, it “could have wide-ranging impacts on GPS users,” including intercontinental commercial aviation, which “may have to cancel, delay or reroute flights.”

The GAO’s testimony can be found here, and the full report here.

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