Thursday, May 7, 2009

LORAN-C: Killed by the Obama Administration

The Administration's budget for 2010 is published, along with a list of discretionary terminations and reductions... and the smallest military service gets a slight nod (er, inclusion). Wouldn't want to be left out, I guess... ;-)
The Administration is proposing to terminate the terrestrial-based, long-range radionavigation system (Loran-C) . . . because it is obsolete technology. Accounting for inflation, this will achieve a savings of $36 million in 2010 and $190 million over five years.
The justification is interesting as it pretty much lays out the nails for the coffin:
Loran-C is a federally-provided radionavigation system for civil marine use in U.S. coastal areas. The Nation no longer needs this system because the federally-supported civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) has replaced it with superior capabilities. As a result, Loran-C, including recent limited technological enhancements, serves only the remaining small group of long-time users. It no longer serves any governmental function and it is not capable as a backup for GPS.

Several Federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security, already have backup systems for their critical GPS applications and the termination of Loran-C does not foreclose future development of a national back-up system. It merely stops the outflow of taxpayer dollars to sustain a system that does not now and will not, in its current state, serve as a backup to GPS.
And the folks doing LORAN support do a fantastic job; I only hope they understand that their super-human abilities to keep the system afloat are recognized... and that their talents get used elsewhere, 'cause they have been doing great management and leadership stuff, and their technical skills are unmatched.

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