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    QMs, the USN, and electronic navigation
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 May 23, 20:07 -0700

    Here's an article that addresses the questions of electronic versus paper navigation aboard US Navy vessels:

    Note that the article says that paper plot is still the principal plot aboard US aircraft carriers today, but that this is about to change.

    Here's an interesting series of comments:
    "“The Navy is slowly getting out of the archaic,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer James Fox, the Lincoln’s leading quartermaster and an 18-year veteran of ship bridges.

    “When I first came into the Navy, they said, ‘Oh, GPS — no one will ever trust it because what if we lose power?’ ” Fox said, referring to the Global Positioning System satellites that feed the Lincoln real-time information on its whereabouts.

    “But as some of these old salty sailors retire, what they realize is that if we lose power, we’ve got a lot more worries than our exact position,” he said.

    The Navy uses specialized navigation charts, which it had to first computerize. That process alone took eight or nine years.

    “It’s been a long-anticipated change that the team worked hard toward for years,” said Evans, who admits he’s an old-school sailor who could, in a pinch, use a sextant to navigate — just as captains did when battleships still had sails. Carrier crews still keep a sextant on the bridge, but there may be only one sailor aboard qualified to use it."


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