Obama Budget May Cut Loran-C

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There may be about $3.6 trillion in the Obama administration's proposed budget, but that may not include funding for LORAN-C because "it is obsolete technology," according to a report released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) titled Terminations, Reductions, and Savings. Cutting LORAN-C would save $36 million in 2010 and $190 million that would have been spent over five years in support of the system. Operated by the United States Coast Guard, the long-range radio navigation system "for civil marine use in U.S. Coastal areas" is no longer needed, according to the report, because "the federally-supported civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) has replaced it with superior capabilities." The remaining "small group of long-time users" is not seen as reason enough to continue funding and it is the opinion of the OMB that the system "is not capable as a backup for GPS." Federal agencies that rely on GPS "already have backup systems" for their GPS applications, wrote the OMB, but the office appears to concede that a national backup system has yet to be developed.

Federal agencies including the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security will not be compromised, wrote the OMB, "and the termination of LORAN-C does not foreclose future development of a national back-up system." The OMB states that funding for LORAN-C "merely stops the outflow of taxpayer dollars to sustain a system that does not now and will not, in its current state, serve as a backup to GPS."