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Old 23-02-2016, 10:05   #1
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US Navy bring back sextant

The US navy, after a decade of not teaching it:

U.S. Navy Brings Back Navigation By The Stars For Officers : NPR

Quote:
The Navy stopped training its service members to navigate by the stars about a decade ago, focusing instead on electronic navigational systems. But fears about the security of the Global Positioning System and a desire to return to the basics of naval training are pushing the fleet back toward this ancient method of finding a course across open water.
Probably a smart move. I was surprised that their officers were NOT trained in its use, but like everything else, if they do no actually practice, how proficient will they be?

One thing, it means that sextant manufacturers are not going the way of the buggy whip.
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Old 23-02-2016, 10:49   #2
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

The good news: Back to basics, and better prepared navigators.
The bad news: They are getting prepared to go back to basics.

They sure know more than we do.

"In a big war, the GPS satellites could be shot down. Or, more likely, their signal could be jammed or hacked.

Already, jamming has become more common, Weeden says. "You can buy a lot of GPS jammers off the Internet," he says. "A lot of those are made by Russia."

He thinks the Russians probably have systems to jam the special signals the military uses as well. And China may be developing similar capabilities."

+ The possible comeback of GPS signal dithering.
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Old 23-02-2016, 12:07   #3
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

They need a reliable backup in the event of an electromagnetic pulse strike.
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Old 23-02-2016, 12:29   #4
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

I agree, I think they know they would be strung up if GPS failed (which seems NOT to be impossible and maybe not even improbable) and they couldn't perform basic nautical functions like figuring out where they are...

If nothing else, they are covering their a&&es. And who knows, maybe it might even be necessary or useful. Let's hope not.

Pete
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Old 23-02-2016, 12:35   #5
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

On the other hand this could be a knee-jerk reaction following the recent capture and release of our out-of-bounds naval vessels and their crews.
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Old 23-02-2016, 13:44   #6
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

Both Tara and Tatia have it correct. Our obsessive infatuation with electronic navigation has created a dangerous vulnerability for both the individual sailor and the military of his/her nation. Although a sextant is used primarily offshore and out of sight of land, it cannot be jammed and with an experienced navigator, it is accurate within a fix of +/- 2 nm. And, it teaches skills that have been honed for the last 500 plus years of successful navigation. Traditional and celestial navigation should be required for all US naval officers and should be practiced on a regular schedule. I often wonder how many "cruisers" on this forum could successfully navigate their vessels without electronic ATN's. Good luck and good navigating. Captain Rognvald--plotting his next EP.
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Old 23-02-2016, 14:10   #7
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
On the other hand this could be a knee-jerk reaction following the recent capture and release of our out-of-bounds naval vessels and their crews.
This is old news and was announced before that incident. Best reason I have read, but not heard verified, is that the boats GPSes were spoofed.

Later,
Dan
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Old 23-02-2016, 14:23   #8
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

There's another aspect.

This is sending a very big message to the Education system, to improve the mathematics competence of those leaving the Education system . . . . .
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Old 23-02-2016, 14:24   #9
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

Didn't work out well for us when I served in the Navy on a sub. We lost navigation and just wanted to go north for 6 hours till the satellite was due so we could reset the system. Too bad after that using the old school real reclaimable nav method we headed south.
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Old 23-02-2016, 14:31   #10
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

Solar storms could knock out gps. Is anyone left to teach log tables, also a lost required art. No GPS and no calculator.


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Old 23-02-2016, 14:35   #11
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

I am an active duty Navy officer in the US Submarine Force. Have been for a really long time; long enough to have learned celestial navigation the last time it was part of an officer's formal education.

There is a vast difference between the US Naval Academy's recent decision to (re)implement celestial navigation, and the Fleet's policies on what constitutes "prudent navigation" of multi-billion dollar platforms. Put simply, you don't risk lives and missions on navigational fixes of questionable accuracy. For GPS-denied environments, there are alternate methods of fixing ship's position, and most of them are far more accurate and reliable than celestial navigation.

But there is other value to bringing back the sextant. In addition to being one more "tool in the navigator's toolbox", fixing a ship's position from the stars is a part of our heritage, a mark of a professional seaman, and a way to signal a young kid from the Bronx or Iowa that they have joined a MARITIME organization. And that membership in an elite cadre comes with tradition and ritual...like knowing more than the average bear about noon sights and which star is Spica.
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Old 23-02-2016, 14:42   #12
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
Although a sextant is used primarily offshore and out of sight of land, it cannot be jammed and with an experienced navigator, it is accurate within a fix of +/- 2 nm.

Can't be jammed? Ha! Just wait for nuclear winter and endless ash clouds. I'd like to see you get a fix then!


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Old 23-02-2016, 14:48   #13
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

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Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Can't be jammed? Ha! Just wait for nuclear winter and endless ash clouds. I'd like to see you get a fix then!


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not going to make much difference then will it
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Old 23-02-2016, 19:18   #14
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

As a QMSN on the USS LaSalle in the late 70's where there was no LORAN and a VERY unreliable OMEGA, we went weeks on D.R., Fathometer and whatever we could get from the heavens. They never should have stopped. It is not the Officers that need the skills, it is the whole NAV division. No offense intended to the O corps out there.

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Old 23-02-2016, 19:49   #15
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Re: US Navy bring back sextant

Do they not have INS anymore? I remember when we first got GPS on our destroyer. Made a huge difference in NGFS but nav was still mostly INS.


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