LORAN-C to Cease Operation in North America by Early February
January 21, 2010 — By the middle of the afternoon on February 8, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard will shut down LORAN-C (LOng RAnge Navigation, variation C) across North America 52 years after the venerable ground-based area navigation system that guided boats and eventually aircraft began service. As GPS firmly established itself as the superior navigation system for most transportation modes, LORAN-C slowly became obsolete and a drag on budgets.
After funding to continue operation of the system was left out of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 2010 budget, the Coast Guard moved quickly in setting a date for the system to shut down over the contiguous United States. A notice posted on a Coast Guard navigation website said that LORAN-C was “no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation’s security interests and is used only by a small percentage of the population. The decision to cease transmission of the LORAN-C signal reflects the president’s pledge to eliminate unnecessary federal programs.”
In the website statement, the Coast Guard was proud of the service it provided and will work to minimize the local economic effects at LORAN-C facilities due to the shutdown. Per international agreements, U.S. participation in the Russian American and Canadian LORAN-C chains will continue.
LORAN-C was originally developed to provide radio navigation service for U.S. coastal waters and was later expanded to include complete coverage of the continental United States as well as most of Alaska. Twenty-four U.S. LORAN-C stations work in partnership with Canadian and Russian stations to provide coverage in Canadian waters and in the Bering Sea. The system provides better than 0.25 nautical mile absolute accuracy for suitably equipped users within the published areas, and provides navigation, location, and timing services for both civil and military air, land, and marine users. It is approved as an en route supplemental air navigation system for both instrument flight rules and visual flight rules operations.