Release date: Wednesday 31 May 2007
Enhancing safety and protection of the marine environment:
The General Lighthouse Authorities award a 15-year eLoran contract to VT Communications
The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) today (30th May 2007) announces the award of a prestigious fifteen-year contract to VT Communications (part of VT Group plc) for the provision of a state-of-the-art enhanced Loran (eLoran) radionavigation service to improve the safety of mariners in the UK and Ireland.
The first development phase of this contract, until 2010, will build on existing successes and provide a focus for a European agreement on eLoran service provision. This would then trigger the start of the operational phase from 2010 onwards.
The Department for Transport is sharing the costs during the development phase having recognised the broader potential of Loran to improve the resilience of critical transport infrastructure.
eLoran is intended to assist mariners navigating the complex and crowded waters around our shores and those of our northern European neighbours. It complements Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS and is entirely independent, allowing users to retain the benefits of electronic positioning, navigation and timing when satellite signals are disrupted.
This contract will see VT Communications develop a new Loran station at its radio communications facility in Cumbria, UK. The first signals from the Cumbrian eLoran station will be transmitted on 1st October 2007 with a full service launched in November 2007. The existing trial service will be suspended by the end of July 2007.
VT Communications’ Managing Director, Doug Umbers says: “VT Communications is proud to be working with the GLAs to deliver this critical service to their user community. This contract demonstrates VT Communications’ unrivalled expertise in delivery of the LF infrastructure and service provision projects, providing the GLAs with a radically improved service.”
“We chose VT Communications because of its commitment to service provision and its flexible approach to partnership”, comments Dr Sally Basker, the GLAs’ Director of Research and Radionavigation.
“Over the last decade we have worked hard to reduce the overall cost of service provision by 50% in real terms. e-Navigation is the maritime sector’s future: berth-to-berth navigation in the digital world with its associated safety, security, environmental and economic benefits. As we press ahead with e-Navigation, eLoran provides the only way of maintaining our service levels until 2020 without undue increases in cost or risk. eLoran will help us to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective Aids to Navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.”
Enhanced Loran (eLoran) is an internationally standardised positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) service for use by many modes of transport and in other applications. It is the latest in the long-standing and proven series of low-frequency, LOng-RAnge Navigation (LORAN) systems, one that takes full advantage of 21st century technology.
eLoran meets the accuracy, availability, integrity, and continuity performance requirements for aviation non-precision instrument approaches, maritime harbor entrance and approach manoeuvres, land-mobile vehicle navigation, and location-based services, and is a precise source of time and frequency for applications such as telecommunications.
eLoran is an independent, dissimilar, complement to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). It allows GNSS users to retain the safety, security, and economic benefits of GNSS, even when their satellite services are disrupted.