GPS trumps LORAN: Govt. to pull plug on outdated navigation system for mariners, pilots

By Clarke Canfield, AP
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Plug being pulled on decades-old navigation system

PORTLAND, Maine — The plug is being pulled on a radio navigational system that for decades was the preferred choice of mariners in waters off the U.S.

As low-cost GPS has emerged in recent years, the Department of Homeland Security says the LORAN-C system has become obsolete and is no longer needed for navigation or safety.

Over the protests of some U.S. senators and others who say the LORAN network should be maintained as a GPS backup, most of the nation’s LORAN transmission towers will be turned off Feb. 8, with the remainder being shut down by Oct. 1.

For decades, LORAN was the standard navigation system on many commercial fishing boats, recreational craft and other vessels, as well as a supplemental navigation aid on many small aircraft.

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