[time-nuts] The Case for eLoran

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Mon Jun 12 16:16:28 EDT 2006

In message <4488A357.4060302 at pacific.net>, Brooke Clarke writes:

>The British have just published a document about the Enhanced LORAN-C 

It's quite interesting times over here in Europe.

Amongst people who know what they are talking about, there seems
to be increasing awareness that pretty much all the foundations
under Galileo has shifted for the worse.

There are no users willing to pay for any of the services.

Forcing them to pay by regulation or legislation will take 10-15
years for ships/planes because the regulatory domains extend outside
EU political reach.

Road-pricing has not (yet) been a killer app anywhere, pretty much
all politicians hope that oil-prices will do the job instead so they
don't have to put their name behind a very unpopular idea.

With the revenue-driven model of Galileo in distress, it is no
surprise that the negotiations with private entities about operation
has dragged out a couple of years, and "decisive developments in
the negotiations" are not expected until later this year.

Pulling countries like China into the Galileo group has many people
uneasy, and seen strategically it can only count as a negative in
the US/EU friction.  If USA didn't have incentives to develop
countermeasures for Galileo before, the addition of China certainly
provided them.

On that account, the initially much trumpted jamming resistance of
Galileo seems very much in doubt.  Did USA pull a smart one on EU
in the modulation negotiations ?

Some military personel suspect, strictly off the record, that the
new US GPS birds have hardware to specifically jam Galileo, and to
them the frequency co-location now seems very much like a major

All in all, galileo looks increasingly like a a negotiation bluff
which went horribly wrong and which will end up costing the EU
taxpayers a fortune.

Because nobody in power would ever be able to admit such a monumental
blunder, and because the pure prestige of Europe also having a GNSS
system would get a blow, were Galileo to be cancelled, it will not be.

Also, the economy of the Arianne rocket would take a severe blow if
the planned 7-9 A5 launches does not happen.

But more and more politicians are starting to look for a way out, or
at least trying to not rush in.

In the meantime France in particular, and increasingly also England
lobbies for Loran-C extension and expansion as a backup or "supplement".

The funny thing here is that Loran-C deployment will not happen
until the ratification of the "European Radio Navigation Plan"
(which cover much more than just EU).

The ERNP drafts warmly advocates Loran-C, citing from memory: 22%
of benefit for 7% of money, is currently stalled because the European
Commission is too busy, trying to save Galileo...

So severe is the mumbling in the corridors that some even say that
if we drown just a quarter as much money into Loran-C (or an entirely
new VLF system) as is going to be the case for Galileo, we would
get much better result.

May you live in interesting times indeed...


Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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