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    Re: Quartz article: reinstating celestial...
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2015 Oct 21, 21:21 -0700

    Ken Gebhart, you wrote:
    "But how about airplanes? Our newest Tankers don't even have sextant ports, or sextants for that matter."

    Very true. And that reminds me: submarines. In the USN, submarines are a major component of the fleet. Submarines have probably fired more ordnance in action (measured by explosive yield?) in the past twenty years than all other US naval vessels, except aircraft carriers, of course. And submarines are also the bearers of the most lethal component of the nuclear triad. But subs cannot use celestial navigation, except when exposed on the surface, and for that matter they can't use GPS except when poking some element above the surface.

    The great non-secret secret of submarine navigation is passive sonar-scanning of bottom features. They can "see" the ocean floor, especially near land where it counts most, so long as there aren't too many jellyfish in the way. The public, and definitely not secret, method of submarine navigation is inertial. Clearly both of these can be applied by surface vessels. And then there's passive tracking of all surface vessels by satellite which provides all of "their" boats positions ...and all of our boats for free. The USN is not without alternatives.

    Frank Reed
    Somewhere in the middle of Narragansett Bay

       
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