The US Coast Guard Terminates LORAN-C Signal <


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The US Coast Guard Terminates LORAN-C Signal

By Mike Mitchell

February 9, 2010 - The U.S. Coast Guard terminated broadcast of the North American Long Range Navigation-C signal (LORAN-C) on Monday. Crews at the Coast Guard Long Range Aids to Navigation stations, including the six Alaska-based stations, turned off their domestic signal at 11 a.m. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center in Alexandria, Virginia, coordinating the shutdown and by 3 p.m. LORAN-C was completly shut down.

The LORAN system began as a radio-based navigation system during World War II under a secret program to provide the Allied forces with a reliable and accurate means of navigation at sea in any weather. Receivers for aircraft were eventually developed and the LORAN system expanded to all aspects of the military.  


LORAN Stations were first established in the Atlantic in 1942 and then in the Pacific. The LORAN system was then used by the Army Air Forces in the bombing campaign against the Japanese homeland. The Coast Guard retained and expanded the LORAN system at the end of the war for merchant and military use, providing radio navigation service for U.S. coastal waters, complete coverage of the continental U.S. as well as most of Alaska.

LORAN-C system had provided better than 0.25 nautical mile absolute accuracy for suitably equipped users within the published areas and provided navigation, location, and timing services for both civil and military air, land and marine users. It was approved as an en route supplemental air navigation system for both Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) and Visual Flight Rule (VFR) operations.

As a result of technological advancements in the last 20 years, LORAN become an antiquated system no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nationís security interests and was used only by a small percentage of the population. Continued use of limited resources to operate LORAN-C was no longer a prudent use of taxpayer funds and is not allowed under the 2010 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. 

The decision to cease transmission of the LORAN-C signal reflects the presidentís pledge to eliminate unnecessary federal programs. In accordance with the DHS Appropriations Act, the U.S. Coast Guard had terminated the transmission of all U.S. LORAN-C signals February 8, 2010, effective 2000Z. 

This termination does not affect U.S. participation in the Russian American or Canadian LORAN-C chains. U.S. participation in these chains will continue in accordance with international agreements. The Coast Guard strongly urges mariners who were using LORAN-C for navigation to shift to a GPS navigation system and become familiar with its operation as soon as possible. Mariners and aircraft pilots will no longer be able to use LORAN-C for navigation.

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