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  #31  
Old 02-08-2007
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Well Said Sailingdog. We don't need buggy whip makers to stay open either.
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  #32  
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Common sense, and looking at spending the money where it has the greatest impact and return makes, shutting down LORAN makes more sense than not.
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  #33  
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I keep seeing statements that it's cheaper to launch satellites than build land-based stations, but never see any references or links to such a cost analysis. Also, how long do the sats last, and how long have the land-based stations been in operation? Typical satellites last about 7-10 years. Ground stations last for decades, and don't require multi-million dollar space shots to upgrade or repair. Did anyone read the linked article on uses for Loran to deliver differential correction for GPS, which the euros have been doing for several years now? It's disturbing to see this sort of closed-end thinking. It's the sort of thinking that resulted in things like the F-4 Phantom being designed for missile combat only, because gun vs gun air battles would never happen again. We all know how that turned out. The 90's scaling down of the military "because we don't need such a big military any more." Oooops, nobody told the terrorists. Economic costs? You're not serious? A short term loss for a long term gain, is easy to swallow, and that's exactly what would be done if shutting GPS down would preserve a military advantage, that ultimately resulted in a victory and greater economic profit down the road. Face it, if it didn't get shut down, and there was a major military loss as a result, the economy would be the least of our immediate worries. All these trucking companies managed to deliver product before GPS. I seriously doubt their budgets would carry much weight against a military need. Having GPS is a great by-product of a military investment, but there are no guarantees.

"The initial cost to deploy the NavStar GPS system was 10.5 billion dollars. Annual cost to keep the GPS system running is 400 million dollars. Cost for WAAS is 1 billion, while the cost for LAAS is 300 million.
The cost to operate the LORAN system annually is 28 million dollars. The Coast Guard is planning to invest 109 million dollars in February 2002 which will allow the system to operate through 2008."
Uhhhh, I don't have to use my toes to do the math here. The numbers speak for themselves.
Read all about it.....if you dare......
http://www.ac11.org/gpsvs.htm
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  #34  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie
Seabreeze..OK understand your position on Loran but still don't get the music/tv/satellite analogy. Having used loran extensively in the 70's and 80's I am aware of the function and limitations. Not much sense in carrying backup Lorans as they were not battery powered, were not cheap and were coastal systems and good coastal navigation skills were considered "the backup" at that time.
My point is that systems and infrastructure are put in place for USE by a client...whether it be GPS or Loran or the National Weather Service. In this country...very often the customer is the military when it isn't the general public. When the CUSTOMER no longer uses the system having made a choice to use something else...taxpayer money shouldn't continue to be spent on it. This has clearly happened with LORAN.
When you buy a sextant...I don't have to pay for it. When you want to have Loran...I do. That's the difference between my extra GPS's and your GPS/LORAN choice as well. So I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one.
I've never used public transportation, but I pay taxes that support it. I don't have kids, but I pay school tax. Tylenol tablets don't cost $8 each, but if I get them in the hospital, that's what I get billed...to pay for the free care someone else gets (our version of socialized medicine). If you get lost when GPS goes down (or for some other reason, you are in distress), and the Coast Guard rescues you......Need I go on?

P.S. I have a battery-powered portable Loran receiver.

Interesting point to ponder. What if the military said, "Hey, this GPS thing is really catching on." Maybe we should change to a subscriber service. Hmmm, I guess it'd depend on the monthly fee they charged for access (keep in mind, $4,000 toilets, $1,200 hammers). I wonder how many would embrace a "free" Loran system, just like some defend FM radio over satellite radio?

Last edited by seabreeze_97; 02-09-2007 at 12:15 AM.
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  #35  
Old 02-09-2007
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...011801029.html

Does this article on China destroying a satellite using a missile change how anyone feels about LoranC?

edit:Gary just saw your earlier post re: this but here is the article anyhow!

Last edited by yotphix; 02-09-2007 at 12:35 AM.
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  #36  
Old 02-09-2007
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"Common sense, and looking at spending the money where it has the greatest impact and return makes, shutting down LORAN makes more sense than not." I'm not sure about that. Does your financial analysis consider the costs of instantly replicating and deploying a replacement system, if one should become necessary, versus maintaining the existing one?

Pleasure boaters can be ignored, they're just tourists. But consider, what would happen to commercial shipping *IF* for any reason the GPS system went down and there was no alternative in place. With LORAN still being operated, traffic just (ha!) stops for 48 hours while Fedex breaks out the boxes and cleans out the inventory. With no LORAN...traffic stops period.

Do I think the GPS system will go down? No, no way. The system is robust and two more (Russian and EU) should be online within the year or two. I don' think the ragheads are smart enough to knock it down, and I don't think the Chinese are dumb enough to knock it down. Still...To me, shutting down the LORAN system is like closing airfields and shipyards and then building condos on them. May the Gods help us if we ever need them again--because there will be no place to build them!

Could a clever adversary take the GPS system down? I suspect so, the mechanics of it wouldn't be all that hard given a few key steps, that aren't altogether impossible in coming years. Shutting down the shipping industry for a while would be a good way to cripple many things, and while ships managed quite well before GPS...I don't think they really would want to dust off their sextants for daily use.

Then again, maybe it would be cheaper to shut down LORAN and put the money into an extra dozen spare birds waiting to go into orbit. Or maybe the USN already has those, sitting in a warehouse someplace. That one's above my pay grade.

I just think the decision needs to be made VERY carefully, and not entirely as our usual short-term budget decisions are. As Pearl Harbor and the more recent USS Cole have proved, even the US Navy can be terribly wrong about threat assessment.


Yotphix-
The China story is old news being used as domestic terrorism by our Congressmen. Both the US and the USSR conducted missile killer tests in the 60's after Sputnik. There's nothing new here, except the fact that there is now so much DEBRIS in orbit that scientists are seriously debating whether it has reached the point where it starts to cascade--and what's already up there will start killing everything new we launch, simply by accident.

Last edited by hellosailor; 02-09-2007 at 12:34 AM.
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  #37  
Old 02-09-2007
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How much of American smart weapon stuff relies completely on GPS for guidance?

I should clarify that I am asking because I haven't got the faintest idea and wonder how the us gov feels about that chinese test.
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  #38  
Old 02-09-2007
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"How much of American smart weapon stuff relies completely on GPS for guidance?" Just the cheap stuff.

Honest, even in the 70's some of the defense contractors used to advertise for people to work on their imaging systems. The really good toys used inertial navigation and then switched to cameras that compare the terrain under them to onboard photographic maps, so they don't rely on outside support of any kind--except for being able to "see".

Inertial nav used to be big & expensive, like computers. Now, the Wii controller has solid state 3-axis accelerometers in it, and is sold as a toy. Imagine what the military has--or should have had--in stock by now.

And, if you can't drop a smart bomb, no big deal. You just drop a daisy cutter, and anyone who can see it falling, is within the kill radius. That's a conventional explosive too, not even a nuke. It just means folks have to take a little more responsibility for who they are harboring down the road.

You know, like all the innocent Germans who swore they never knew about the camps.
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  #39  
Old 02-09-2007
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And, if you can't drop a smart bomb, no big deal. You just drop a daisy cutter
I guess the terms have changed. I was a FAC in the late 60's, then, they used "daisy cutters" to clear the LZ. Basically it was a tank of CNG with a timer which split when it hits and ignited a few seconds later, clearing everything at ground level, ergo "daisy cutter" making a reasonably manicured pad for landing or pickups.

I think the LORAN system has gone the way of my "daisy cutter." relegated to the pile of useless electronics we just had to have back then, replaced by something with more bang for the buck.
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  #40  
Old 02-09-2007
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Then again, maybe it would be cheaper to shut down LORAN and put the money into an extra dozen spare birds waiting to go into orbit.
Which is what I said previously...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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