Surface Forces: May 23, 2005


The U.S. Navy is finally entering the digital age for navigation. The first all digital navigation system has been installed and is in use about the USS Cape St. George, a cruiser. Called the Voyage Management System (VMS), it uses 29 CDs containing the 12,000 paper nautical charts that were stored in several large filing cabinet. VMS is part of the Smart Ship Integrated Bridge System, which will eventually automate and computerize many of tasks performed to run the ship. VMS was developed from systems used on commercial ships for some ten years. Several other navies have also made the switch. A planned upgrade will put all the electronic charts on one high density DVD, as well as a high capacity hard drive. The electronic charts contain more information than the paper charts, and are much easier to use, and, more importantly, update. Since the 1990s, space satellites have been surveying the oceans, and providing a flood of data for updating charts. The inability to update charts quickly enough was the main reason for the submarine USS San Francisco hitting an undersea mountain earlier this year. The first submarine to get VMS is still having the system installed. If the USS San Francisco had VMS last January, and the electronic charts had been promptly updated (the sea mount was spotted by satellite in 1998 and 2004), the collision would not have happened. The navy believes that several groundings over the past decade would have been avoided had VMS been installed.  All U.S. Navy ships wont be equipped with VMS until 2008. The cabinets full of charts wont be discarded until Smart Ship computers and terminals are installed throughout the ship, so that others who need to use those charts can access them electronically. With VMS, navigation is much easier, and accurate. The users like it.


Article Archive

Surface Forces : Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close