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2007 - News - The GLAs announce eLoran contract

Thu, 31 May 2007

The UK and Ireland's three GLAs announce the award of a 15-year eLoran contract

The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) today (31 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 trial 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."

Notes to Editors

Further information is available from:

Trinity House

Vikki Gilson
Communications Manager
Trinity House
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7481 6960

VT Communications

Laura Jelf
Marketing Manager
VT Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7969 0000

Northern Lighthouse Board

Lorna Hunter Tel: 0131 473 3100

Commissioners of Irish Lights

Tel: +353 1 6321900

The General Lighthouse Authorities

The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the United Kingdom and Ireland are Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Together, they have the statutory responsibility for the provision of marine aids to navigation (AtoNs) around the British Isles. The GLAs are funded by "Light Dues" charged on various classes of shipping calling at ports in the UK and Ireland. The Secretary of State for Transport sets the level of light dues to be charged. The GLAs' joint mission is the delivery of a reliable, efficient and cost effective AtoN service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

VT Communications

VT Communications, part of VT Group plc, is a leading specialist communications services company, providing innovative technical solutions and systems integration across the RF spectrum from Very Low Frequency (VLF) to Super High Frequency (SHF) from 29 locations around the world. VT Communications designs, builds, operates, maintains and supports mission critical infrastructure for some of the most demanding organisations among them defence organisations, national governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), broadcasters and space agencies.

VT Communications has extensive expertise in developing everything from principal infrastructure to delivering unique customised technical solutions. Its core capabilities include Radio Frequency Engineering, ICT, Specialist Vehicle & Container Engineering and Power Generation & Distribution, providing all technical support services, communications facilities management and project management. Currently, VT Communications provides such services for a broad range of customers including the UK Ministry of Defence, the Swedish Navy, European Space Agency and global relief organisations.

Global broadcast infrastructure owned and operated by VT Communications transmits over 1,000 hours of both short and medium wave broadcasts every day for customers including the BBC World Service, NHK (Radio Japan), Radio Canada International, Radio Netherlands, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Voice of America. VT Communications is a founder member of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), a consortium of broadcast related organisations working to bring digital AM radio to the market place.


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 harbour 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.