No lifeline left for Loran-C

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The Coast Guard announced Jan. 7 it would decommission the Loran-C program and terminate the Loran-C signal broadcast from Jupiter Inlet, Fla., effective Feb. 8.

The federal government says technological advances, specifically the advent of GPS, have made the 67-year-old Loran-C program obsolete as a maritime navigational tool.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a vocal advocate of maintaining the system - specifically the enhanced eLoran - says the system is a vital backup to GPS. "The fact is GPS is vulnerable to atmospheric interference and jamming," Collins says. "Our nation needs a reliable backup."

A statement from the Coast Guard says the Loran-C system "was not established as, nor was it intended to be, a viable systematic backup for GPS."

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the March 2010 issue.