Hold your course

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FEB. 5 — Despite earlier plans for the demise of the navigation system LORAN-C, the Coast Guard now plans to request funds in the 2009 budget to update its functions into a program tentatively called eLORAN, according to a report in GPS World.

LORAN, which stands for LOng RAnge Navigation, uses low frequency radio transmitters that take advantage of the time interval between radio signals received from multiple stations to pinpoint the location of a vessel or aircraft. While LORAN has been surpassed by Global Positioning Systems (GPS), the first LORAN systems were launched in 1941 and were used by the Coast Guard during World War II, according to the Coast Guard Web site (www.uscg.mil).

Resurrecting LORAN is not a new concept. The Coast Guard in April 2003 requested funding to update the system, with an understanding between the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration stating if U.S. Congress did not appropriate the funds, LORAN would be terminated, according to articles in Soundings.

— Elizabeth Ellis