Enter, stage right, the Digital Age

picture-22Electronic Navigation.

Yup. Commercial folks have been using it for YEARS. Even the surface fleet’s been in on it.

Last ones to the party is the submarine force, and for good reason. Like they said in “Hunt for Red October”, give us a map and a stopwatch and we’ll fly you through the Alps in a plane with no windows. But, as you’d expect, that better be a pretty damn good map.

It’s no surprise that submarines have been the last to relinquish paper navigation, but when your life depends on accurate data, you want to make sure that computer system is going to work … correctly … all the time. Test depth is not the place for a blue-screen of death as the Quartermaster reboots.

It’s been a few years in the making, but it seems that Submarine Force is working its way towards everyone getting certified Electronic Navigation, according to Navy Times

Benke, who took his current job in July, said there were about 10 crews certified at the time. Today, all eight blue and gold crews for guided missile subs are certified, as are 25 crews in the attack submarine fleet. Oklahoma City was the first to certify, in October 2006.

“By this time next year, it will be ones and twos,” Benke said. “You eventually have to make that transition, and it’s going to happen.”

Likewise, the Navy’s 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines will begin certifying in 2009, with the process taking about four years to complete.

And as current crews make the shift and get certified, the Navy’s newest submarines will be going to sea essentially paperless.

It’s a heckuva long process, and really works the QM’s to get it done. But in the end, it IS a much better way to get things done and easier for the teams to prep charts. Anyone else have experience with electronic navigation?

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4 Responses to Enter, stage right, the Digital Age

  1. fantomplanet says:

    I’m not going back to sea ever again. Why? Because I’ve seen how the [map] sausage is made.

  2. sobersubmrnr says:


    I don’t know if you’re retired or still on the boats. But the QM rating went away for submarines back in the late 90’s. We’re all ETs now, with the former QMs receiving a 14QM NEC and a 14NO NEC once completing an operator’s school.


    Reservist ET1(SS) (qualified only to PM the electric pencil sharpener).

    SSN 688, SSBN 657(B) and SSN 751 Plankowner

  3. fastnav says:

    sobersubmrnr –
    No, far from retired. I know they’re all Nav ET’s now, but I still call the guys on the plots Quartermasters.

    Now if only I could find a solid ICman.



  4. sobersubmrnr says:

    Solid ICman? Did such a critter ever exist? The one that comes to mind the most was nicknamed Weiner.

    “Why do you call him Weiner?”

    “Cause he’s a weiner!”


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