eLoran to help vessels in and out of Aberdeen harbour
In 1968 the United States established the Loran-C transmitter site and monitoring station at the end of the Scatsta runway and it was operated by the US Coast Guard until 1983, when it was overtaken by more modern technology. That Loran-C transmitter was an important component of US Cold War marine surveillance and tracking, monitoring mostly the Norwegian Sea and the waters around Shetland. As well as providing support for the navigational equipment on board US Navy and Royal Navy nuclear powered attack submarines, it also provided maritime navigation to civilian vessels, complementing the Decca Navigator system, which had two sites in Shetland, one outside Lerwick and one above Cunnningsburgh. Now the Loran technology is being revived in a new version called eLoran to help the Northlink passenger ferries and cargo boats, and other vessels, to safely depart and enter Aberdeen harbour. Although satellite GPS has become the dominant navigational platform, it is vulnerable solar flares, electronic interference, and the prioritisation of use on demand by the US military in the event an international emergency.