U.S. To Shut Down Loran-C; eLoran Plans Uncertain
The U.S. Coast Guard and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, announced earlier this month that loran-C stations in the U.S. will be progressively shut down between next month and October. The U.S. considers maintaining its loran station network, costing $36 million per year, unaffordable. But UK and European authorities are retaining their loran stations as the foundation for the future eLoran, now under development, which automatically tracks every loran transmitter within 2,000 miles and, like GPS, selects the best signals for navigation. Unjammable eLoran is seen as an essential GPS backup should anyone use powerful handheld jammers to overcome GPS signals. Specialists suggest that computer chip-size eLoran units inside GPS receivers would instantly feed the FMS should GPS be lost, and switch out when the signal returns. While loran transmissions will cease in the U.S., industry observers urge against loran station removal–a costly task involving demanding EPA site restoration standards–so that eLoran eventually could be introduced in the U.S. as a protective anti-jamming shield against GPS signal attacks as aviation moves into a totally satnav environment.