Department for Transport approves implementation of seven differential eLoran stations along the UK coastline

The UK’s pursuit of technology to counter the threat of GPS jamming

has achieved a ‘significant milestone’.

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.’

Charles Schue, president and CEO of UrsaNav, said: ‘The number

of enquiries we receive about eLoran and other resilient PNT technology

continues to increase and we are now approached for further information

on a daily basis.

‘Much of this is testament to the example being set in

the UK, raising awareness of the need for a robust backup to GPS.’

ELoran technology is based on longwave radio signals and is

independent and complementary to GPS.

The General Lighthouse Authorities

carried out the world’s first successful demonstration of a prototype

automatic resilient PNT (positioning, navigation and timing) system

using eLoran, in trials completed aboard the THV Galatea out of Harwich

on several excursions between 28 February and 1 March this year.

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

Pictures: 

GLA_eLoran – prototype receiver

GLA_eLoranTrials – Display showing GPS

jammed.

GLA_THV Galatea – the ship onboard which recent eLoran trials were conducted

Martin Bransby, research and

radionavigation manager at the GLAs