November 23, 2015
INNOVATION INSIGHTS with Richard Langley
Quote of Note:
WHERE HAVE ALL THE SYSTEMS GONE, long time passing?
Radionavigation systems, that is (and apologies to Pete Seeger). If we look at the 1990 Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP), published by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Defense, as I did in this column in March 1992, we see that there were 10 radionavigation systems in use by different user segments: Loran-C, Omega, very high frequency (VHF) Omnidirectional Range/Distance Measuring Equipment, Tactical Air Navigation, the Instrument Landing System, the Microwave Landing System, Transit, aviation radiobeacons, marine radiobeacons and GPS.
The latest FRP, issued in 2014, includes only seven or six and a half when you consider that marine radiobeacons were mostly phased out in the intervening years. Systems were shut down because with the advent of GPS, they were considered to be redundant. While there were attendant cost savings, the closure of the various systems has resulted in a dangerous virtual sole dependence on GPS for navigation without any backup.