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White House Aero-Hit-List #5: LORAN-C

$17 Billion Cut... But Trillions More Spent Elsewhere

The Obama Administration, in the process of spending trillions of dollars for all manner of programs and projects, is trumpeted the 17 Billion dollars it is trying to cut from the Federal Budget. Rather than try to digest them all en masse, we'll look at each of them one at a time and allow you to make up YOUR mind as to the rationale and wisdom for the decisions included below. Herewith; another of the programs on the chopping block that has an aviation or aerospace connotation.

From the 'Terminations, Reductions, and Savings' document published this week by the OMB, as part of the FY 2010 US Budget:

Proposal: The Administration is proposing to terminate the terrestrial-based, long-range radionavigation system (Loran-C) operated by the U.S. Coast Guard because it is obsolete technology. Accounting for inflation, this will achieve a savings of $36 million in 2010 and $190 million over five years.

Justification: Loran-C is a federally-provided radionavigation system for civil marine use in U.S. coastal areas. The Nation no longer needs this system because the federally-supported civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) has replaced it with superior capabilities. As a result, Loran-C, including recent limited technological enhancements, serves only the remaining small group of long-time users. It no longer serves any governmental function and it is not capable as a backup for GPS.

Several Federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Homeland Security, already have backup systems for their critical GPS applications and the termination of Loran-C does not foreclose future development of a national back-up system. It 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.

FMI: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/trs.pdf

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