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Sextant was being used on the new Carrier Gerald Ford

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Sextant was being used on the new Carrier Gerald Ford

Old 11-14-2019, 12:53 AM
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Default Sextant was being used on the new Carrier Gerald Ford

On a video of the sea trials of the new Carrier they showed the bridge and sailors were using paper charts
and sextant. Looks like high tech still has the old tried and true as a back up.

Last edited by Bugsbunnyboater; 11-14-2019 at 02:17 AM.

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11-14-2019, 05:40 AM
NedLloyd
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In this situation it is not about “teaching the basics”. The Naval Academy had actually stopped teaching celestial navigation for a good number of years , then a few years ago I read where they started teaching it again. This is all for one very good reason. Without knowing celestial navigation all someone would have to do is to take out a handful of GPS satellites , or block them, and the entire US Navy would be completely crippled. They wouldn’t even be able to get a single ship from Norfolk to New York.
With current cyber technology this was considered to big a threat. Celestial navigation pretty much takes that concern off the table.

...... Yea,... It would really suck to be the commander of the carrier Gerald Ford, you receive orders to report to the Gulf of Oman immediately and you have to reply with “yes sir, but we don’t know how to get there”.

*******EDIT**** Obviously based on the conversation below this is a bit of an exaggeration, however, celestial navigation is the only means of navigation that can't be blocked, taken out, interfered with, hacked or fail. It is still useful.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
They are also very interesting tools and can have interesting histories.

This is a typical earlier 1800’s ebony frame octant (missing a fair bit, but putting it back together). An Octant represents 1/8th of a circle and predates the sextant (represents 1/6th of a circle).




This brass frame octant is quite interesting in that it was made about 1956 in London by a woman named Janet Taylor. She was quite remarkable and really deserves a place in history, being a woman who developed navigational mathematical tables, taught navigation and had her own line of navigation instruments (including octants), all in a completely male dominated industry at the time.





This sextant has a pretty interesting story associated with it. It was also made about 1855 – 56 in Southampton England by a maker named Joseph Stebbing. It is interesting in that his father George Stebbing was a navigation instrument maker to the Queen, and his brother Robert Stebbing was the navigation instrument repairman (sextants, chronometers etc) aboard H.M.S. Beagle for Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world.




This is a nice later 19th century sextant made by H. Hughes & Son in England.



This is a standard WWII U.S. Navy sextant made by David White in Milwaukee Wis. …. Much more basic looking and functional in appearance, but works the same way. It does have a micrometer drum for reading the minutes and seconds. The micrometer drum was incorporated into sextant design about WWI and is really the only noticeable improvement or change incorporated over time.





This is a mid 20th century Tamaya sextant and pretty much represents the pinicle of sextant development during the waning years of celestial navigation as the way of navigating the oceans of the world



This 1970’s Davis Mark 3 sextant (still available inexpensively today). Sort of obviously it represents about the most basic form of a sextant. Though not as repeatable as a much higher end sextant these Mark 3’s have been successfully used for world travel.




Regardless of the form of a sextant, it is simply a tool to very accurately measure the angle between the horizon and a heavenly body, .... just an adjustable protractor really.














Old 11-14-2019, 01:04 AM
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I doubt a sexton would be much help.
a sextant, on the other hand, is handy for navigation
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:12 AM
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Yep, we still have to learn how to do things the old fashioned way. Never a bad idea, could be for guys taking basic seamanship too.
Old 11-14-2019, 04:11 AM
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I've learnt how to navigate without electronics - I'm unlikely to ever truly need to do it - although I have done it purely out of interest and then switched on the electronics to see where I was (it was certainly close to enough to have given me visual references if I was heading back to port, but not accurate enough to find my exact fishing marks) - but more to the point, it makes the electronics much more understandable - a bit like using a calculator even though you can do addition without one.

Our lifeboat crews in the UK have six back-up systems to their onboard computerised systems, yet they still train to operate the boat without.
Old 11-14-2019, 04:51 AM
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I met a guy several years back, Captain Pat. He had captained fishing ships up in the Bering sea and many other places all over the world. There are few people in life who impressed me as much as he did.
With all of the electronics that I was installing, he told me of a time when a storm, ice and winds took out most of their antennae. All that they could do was listen to weather reports and use the magnetic compass to keep the ship pointed into the wind.
One evening on the deck of the ship that we were retrofitting, he told me that the toughest class that he ever took was celestial navigation in the southern hemisphere.
Gotta know the basics.
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:55 AM
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My understanding the navy still teachs the basics.
Old 11-14-2019, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by duke460 View Post
My understanding the navy still teachs the basics.
Yeah if you go walk around the academy you will see them out on sail boats learning how to sail.
Old 11-14-2019, 05:40 AM
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In this situation it is not about “teaching the basics”. The Naval Academy had actually stopped teaching celestial navigation for a good number of years , then a few years ago I read where they started teaching it again. This is all for one very good reason. Without knowing celestial navigation all someone would have to do is to take out a handful of GPS satellites , or block them, and the entire US Navy would be completely crippled. They wouldn’t even be able to get a single ship from Norfolk to New York.
With current cyber technology this was considered to big a threat. Celestial navigation pretty much takes that concern off the table.

...... Yea,... It would really suck to be the commander of the carrier Gerald Ford, you receive orders to report to the Gulf of Oman immediately and you have to reply with “yes sir, but we don’t know how to get there”.

*******EDIT**** Obviously based on the conversation below this is a bit of an exaggeration, however, celestial navigation is the only means of navigation that can't be blocked, taken out, interfered with, hacked or fail. It is still useful.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
They are also very interesting tools and can have interesting histories.

This is a typical earlier 1800’s ebony frame octant (missing a fair bit, but putting it back together). An Octant represents 1/8th of a circle and predates the sextant (represents 1/6th of a circle).




This brass frame octant is quite interesting in that it was made about 1956 in London by a woman named Janet Taylor. She was quite remarkable and really deserves a place in history, being a woman who developed navigational mathematical tables, taught navigation and had her own line of navigation instruments (including octants), all in a completely male dominated industry at the time.





This sextant has a pretty interesting story associated with it. It was also made about 1855 – 56 in Southampton England by a maker named Joseph Stebbing. It is interesting in that his father George Stebbing was a navigation instrument maker to the Queen, and his brother Robert Stebbing was the navigation instrument repairman (sextants, chronometers etc) aboard H.M.S. Beagle for Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world.




This is a nice later 19th century sextant made by H. Hughes & Son in England.



This is a standard WWII U.S. Navy sextant made by David White in Milwaukee Wis. …. Much more basic looking and functional in appearance, but works the same way. It does have a micrometer drum for reading the minutes and seconds. The micrometer drum was incorporated into sextant design about WWI and is really the only noticeable improvement or change incorporated over time.





This is a mid 20th century Tamaya sextant and pretty much represents the pinicle of sextant development during the waning years of celestial navigation as the way of navigating the oceans of the world



This 1970’s Davis Mark 3 sextant (still available inexpensively today). Sort of obviously it represents about the most basic form of a sextant. Though not as repeatable as a much higher end sextant these Mark 3’s have been successfully used for world travel.




Regardless of the form of a sextant, it is simply a tool to very accurately measure the angle between the horizon and a heavenly body, .... just an adjustable protractor really.















Last edited by NedLloyd; 11-14-2019 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
Without knowing celestial navigation all someone would have to do is to take out a handful of GPS satellites , or block them, and the entire US Navy would be completely crippled. They wouldn’t even be able to get a single ship from Norfolk to New York.
With current cyber technology this was considered to big a threat. Celestial navigation pretty much takes that concern off the table.
Not true at all. Navy ships have multiple precision backups to GPS.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by scooperfl View Post
Not true at all. Navy ships have multiple precision backups to GPS.
Plan B: Fire up the LORAN transmitters.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Lorne Greene View Post

Plan B: Fire up the LORAN transmitters.

As strange as it may seem some components of the system have been kept in service as a backup to the Global Positioning System even though the system was decommissioned in 2010
Old 11-14-2019, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by scooperfl View Post
Not true at all. Navy ships have multiple precision backups to GPS.
Are any Loran or Omega stations still in existence? I went through NROTC in the early 1980s. We learned to "shoot the stars" freshman year and were told then it was the only "reliable" means of navigating the open seas. Even then we discussed the New High Ground and how the nation that controlled the satellites could rule the world. Just imagine the confusion we would have if somebody decided to take out a few.
Old 11-14-2019, 09:01 AM
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Never been in the military but I'd imagine that any and all redundant knowledge in the event of tech breakdown would be necessary to have. I can't imagine a recon sniper going in without knowing how to use a map and compass.
Old 11-14-2019, 09:03 AM
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I flew across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans multiple times with a navigator using a sextant. New aircraft don't even have sextant ports. If the GPS system goes down, the Inertial Navigation System provides an accurate backup.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Clinker View Post
I've learnt how to navigate without electronics - I'm unlikely to ever truly need to do it - although I have done it purely out of interest and then switched on the electronics to see where I was (it was certainly close to enough to have given me visual references if I was heading back to port, but not accurate enough to find my exact fishing marks) - but more to the point, it makes the electronics much more understandable - a bit like using a calculator even though you can do addition without one.

Our lifeboat crews in the UK have six back-up systems to their onboard computerised systems, yet they still train to operate the boat without.
I learned to navigate before LORAN. Early LORAN would occasionally balk a little but I could still get around. BTW Marines in artillery are still taught to figure firing solutions with a slide rule as a backup. Once about 15 miles off another boat asked to follow me in because his LORAN failed. He said his compass was fine but useless without the LORAN. Poor guy.
Old 11-14-2019, 09:15 AM
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My ex’s brother is a very smart guy, he was XO on a nuclear aircraft carrier and a nuclear engineer. When he was getting his Unlimited Oceans ticket he had a hard time with celestial.
Old 11-14-2019, 09:52 AM
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Interestingly enough, the USAF used sextants for their long range aircraft (C-130, C-141, C-5, B-52, KC-135 ect) back in the early 90's as a navigational backup. Shoot for all I know, they may use have them today.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cdrhoek View Post
I flew across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans multiple times with a navigator using a sextant. New aircraft don't even have sextant ports. If the GPS system goes down, the Inertial Navigation System provides an accurate backup.
Originally Posted by Wingnutt View Post
Interestingly enough, the USAF used sextants for their long range aircraft (C-130, C-141, C-5, B-52, KC-135 ect) back in the early 90's as a navigational backup. Shoot for all I know, they may use have them today.
I lost INS and DNS crossing the North Atlantic in an AF plane. Down to compass. Nav and Boom pulled out the sextant, we were within a mile of course when we picked up navaids in Canada an hour later. They practiced with the sextant a lot.

Doesn't the Navy have digital sextants that look a the stars with cameras for position? Seems like that has been around a long time. But manual backup is a good skill to have.
Old 11-14-2019, 11:14 AM
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INS systems on subs are very accurate I understand . Read a book on the SR 71 and when they first put a celestial nav sys on board during one of the early missions they were having problems getting the sys working but it fixed itself when they rolled it out of he hanger lol .
" What's it like going Mach 3 "
" Well you can get lost real fast ."
Great on the Navy teaching the old skills .
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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smartphone sextant for navigation in GPS-degraded environments.


https://techlinkcenter.org/navigate-...sory-for-that/

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