Chronometry: The US Navy is going to teach navigation the old fashion way again

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by River rat, Feb 18, 2016.

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  1. River rat

    River rat Registered User
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    Was watching the news this morning. The US Navy is going to start teaching Navigation using the stars in the Naval Academy they said due to cyber warfare were GPS will be knocked out in time of war. Dam when did they stop teaching that. Maybe the Chronometer will be making a come back. We were taught to navigate with out GPS when I was in SBU XI we navigated from New Orleans to the Mobil River in the gulf of Mexico in four patrol boats the old fashion way with a chart about 2 days travel plus the return back to New Orleans after war games as training. Strange how the Navy lost there way since I been out . The sextant making a come back and maybe the chronometer.
     
  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Hopefully, training can be effectively achieved without chronometers! In this modern day and age there are so many inexpensive and effective alternatives to our beloved chronometers! Perhaps a worthwhile undertaking, but my chronometers are not available!

    ;)
     
  3. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    When my daughter graduated from Naval ROTC I gave her a temperature compensated quartz watch. I do not know how well hers ran but I ran one for several years staying within better than 5 seconds over that entire period.
     
  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I'd be surprised if they didn't teach astral navigation anyway, it is still an International requirement for Deck Officers of Merchant ships so it must still be taught in the US in the Merchant Navy.
     
  5. Luis Casillas

    Luis Casillas Registered User

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    Googling brought up this article: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-celestial-navigation-20151025-story.html

    This is relevant to your surprise, novicetimekeeper:

    It'd be interesting to hear more detail on what they're teaching, what kind of clock or watch they're recommending for use, and what sort of calibration procedures they're recommending to follow with those. Also, what scenarios they have in mind—e.g., short- vs. long-term interruptions of GPS service.

    Another article, this one from yesterday: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/02/17/why-naval-academy-students-are-learning-to-sail-by-the-stars-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade/
     
  6. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Sounds like incompetence that got found out and fixed. Sounds a bit similar to the mess they made over SA and DGPS.

    There have been discussions, I believe, about dropping Astral navigation as a requirement for Merchant deck officers but as I understand it the decision has always been made to retain it.
     
  7. Ticktinker

    Ticktinker Registered User
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    Hey Rat, good point here,,,
    I thought they had never stopped using the sextant at Te Naval academy.
    In event of electronic warfare, the chances of use of EMF bursts will be very high, even the best quartz watches can be effected.
    Yaaaaayyy for the advent of the Mechanical watch!!!
     
  8. River rat

    River rat Registered User
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    One bad thing I think they did this was to down size the Navy to save a buck. By cutting the work load by doing Navigation the easy way GPS they did away with the signal man rate and combined it into the Quartermaster rate so now the Quartermaster does two jobs with out doing navigation the old fashion way and did away with a rate and personnel. They high year tenure the rate I was in the boatswain mate rate so I retired earlier than I wanted cuts are not the way to go it makes the Navy weaker. Any body remember that SBT team were there 2 patrol boats were off course and ended up in Iranian waters last month wonder if none were taught navigation the old fashion way and they were depending on GPS and had a problem getting a GPS signal so off course they went and into trouble.
     
  9. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I would think when defending your country you would have a back up plan. Old technology.
     
  10. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Ever since Iran captured a drone a while back, it is alleged they have figured out how to spoof GPS signals. That's not good, if true. It seems doable.

    Ralph
     
  11. Cincy2

    Cincy2 Registered User

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    I got a real kick out of reading this thread. When I attended the Naval Academy back in the 70's, we learned celestial navigation starting in our second year. It is not difficult but requires attention to detail. Ships still had multiple chronometers in those days and were used by the quartermasters for reference in their calculations. They were wound at the same time every day and the time differences were compared and recorded. The fact that they were wound and compared was reported to the Captain of the ship daily at noon by the watch's messenger: "Sir, the Officer of the Deck sends his respects and wishes to report the approaching hour of noon. All chronometers have been wound and compared. Request permission to strike 8 bells on time."

    In my sophomore year during one of our navigation practical exercises, a midshipman showed up with an HP calculator, one of the first handhelds that at the time cost $400, a princely sum by Midshipman standards. Most mistakes in celestial occur from bad addition and subtraction so the calculator was a huge advantage to those who had the means (or the rich parents) to afford one. The senior leadership quickly banned them until the next year when the price for a simple calculator dropped to $35.00.

    Cincy
     

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