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UK will Rollout eLoran Stations to Backup GPS

By Val Ellis last modified Aug 08, 2013 10:45 AM
The UK's pursuit of technology to counter the threat of GPS jamming has achieved a 'significant milestone'.

Published: 2013-08-07 23:00:00
Countries: United Kingdom

Seven differential eLoran stations will be installed along the South and East coast of the UK, following approval by the Department for Transport.

The stations will provide alternative position, navigation and timing (PNT) information to ensure that ships equipped with eLoran receivers can navigate safely in the event of GPS failure in one of the busiest shipping regions in the world.

The UK is the first in the world to deploy this technology for shipping companies operating both passenger and cargo services.

The rollout, led by the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the UK and Ireland, will replace the equipment in two prototype stations at Dover and Harwich, and five new stations will be deployed in the Medway, Humber, Middlesbrough, Firth of Forth, and Aberdeen. The GLAs have contracted UrsaNav Inc. for the deployment to deliver initial operational capability by Summer 2014.

Setting the global benchmark

Several nations around the world are consulting with the GLAs to benefit from its knowledge and experience of eLoran and other resilient PNT technologies.

South Korea, for example, has expressed that it wants to establish an eLoran alliance with the UK while it pursues its own rollout of differential eLoran stations, due for completion in 2015. Last year, South Korea was the victim of a 16-day GPS jamming attack by North Korea.

Today, many devices and applications rely on GPS-based information, including telecommunications, smart grids, and high frequency trading, and it plays a fundamental role in delivering the PNT data that ships rely on to ensure safe navigation.

GPS signals are vulnerable to both deliberate and accidental jamming, which is causing increasing concern because of the wide availability of GPS jammers online for as little as £30 capable of causing complete outages across all receivers currently on the market.

Martin Bransby, research and radionavigation manager at the GLAs, said: 'Demands on marine navigation continue to increase and awareness of the vulnerability of GPS is growing, yet electronic systems at sea have not evolved at a sufficient pace to meet these challenges. 'This announcement is a significant step towards improving safety at sea, but few vessels currently have receivers to take advantage of the new stations. 'We hope that the maritime industry will respond proactively to the new stations rollout by installing eLoran receivers on more vessels.'

Improving navigational safety

Stephen Hammond, Minister for Shipping, added:'The deployment of seven eLoran stations follows the successful demonstration of eLoran as a resilient PNT technology and puts the UK at the forefront of developments to improve navigational safety. I applaud the General Lighthouse Authorities on this initiative and am keen to see how it benefits mariners when in use up and down the country.'

ELoran technology is based on long wave radio signals and is independent and complementary to GPS.

Full operational capability covering all major ports is expected by 2019.

From article in Practical Boat Owner
www.ybw.com

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