MARINE NAVIGATION IN WARTIME: A PRELIMINARY SURVEY

Capt. C. W. Koburger, Jr.

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Whether they are from merchant marines or navies, mariners on whatever platform are becoming increasingly dependent upon electronic means of navigation. They do, they must, therefore, sometimes ponder in the early morning watches the fate of these systems under wartime conditions. The matter cannot be of any less interest to the operational and scientific staffs ashore. Both have survival at stake, only at different levels. It is this problem we shall look at here, and the position we shall take is that of the mariner up on his bridge. This is a preliminary survey, not a definitive technical study in depth. It is the “bottom line” that concerns us, and the questions it raises. The subject is of great importance, though it has received little general attention and there are more questions than answers. We shall first review the navigation systems in question, briefly noting their technical characteristics and their apparent wartime vulnerabilities. We shall here assume three categories of war: limited conventional, limited nuclear, and general nuclear. The navigational vulnerabilities in each category will tend to be markedly different, but these three fixes should be enough to plot a course through the scant non-classified data available. We shall also examine some of the apparent alternative solutions (“answers”) to our problem and then conclude with some generalized, rough recommendations. We can take a number of meaningful steps to help ourselves, almost no matter what happens. For the rest, we will at least have raised the problem.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 29, Number 4
Pages: 306 - 311
Cite this article: Koburger, Capt. C. W., Jr.,, "MARINE NAVIGATION IN WARTIME: A PRELIMINARY SURVEY", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 29, No. 4, Winter 1982-1983, pp. 306-311.
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