U.S. Finally Embraces eLoran as GPS Backup

 - February 7, 2008, 10:12 AM

Loran will continue, and be modernized, according to the recently released U.S. Fiscal Year 2009 budget. Furthermore, system responsibility will be placed with the National Protection and Programs Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, which has chosen it as the backup for national infrastructure elements that currently depend on GPS. Today, high-accuracy GPS timing is essential to such critical elements as communications, utilities, banking and transportation, and a severe GPS outage today could be crippling nationwide. But the low-powered GPS signals can be jammed easily by hackers or adversaries, whereas the updated eLoran (for enhanced loran) offers near-GPS timing accuracy, high-powered jam-resistant signals and totally different failure modes. Industry sources state that eLoran receivers would track every ground-based loran station within reception range, which could provide 25 or more position and timing sources “all in view” simultaneously across the U.S. But standalone eLoran aviation units appear unlikely–manufacturers currently envision small eLoran chips buried as backups inside future GPS units.