How Submarine Navigate The Ocean Virtually Blind Since Light Hardly Penetrates Far Into The Waters

Because light does not penetrate very far into the water, submarines must navigate through it almost blindly. Submarines, on the other hand, are outfitted with nautical charts and advanced navigational equipment. When the submarine is on the surface, a sophisticated global positioning system (GPS) accurately determines latitude and longitude, but this system cannot function when the submarine is submerged. I will enlighten you on how a submarine finds its location or navigate underwater according to a publication by navalpost.



Submarines are equipped with an inertial navigation system (INS), which measures the boat's motion and continuously updates its position. It allows the submarine to navigate while remaining hidden below the surface because it does not rely on radio signals or celestial sightings. INS is a self-contained navigation technique that uses accelerometer and gyroscope measurements to track an object's position and orientation about a known starting point, orientation, and velocity. It is a navigation system that can calculate position, either close to a reference system/point or in absolute coordinates, and is made up of at least three gyros and three accelerometers, allowing the system to derive a navigation solution.


Other surface-dependent navigation systems must realign the inertial guidance systems after 150 hours of operation. To maintain accuracy, the submarine must update its position regularly using external navigational radio signals. Transit satellites and LORAN shore stations delivered those signals from the 1960s to the 1990s. GPS has largely supplanted both.


Before diving, the submarine obtains a GPS position and plots that latitude/longitude position on a paper chart; then, every course or speed change is added to the chart to calculate the DRT. The SINS system consists of a computer, a high-precision laser gyroscope, and a satellite communication system. The radio receiver receives a position from the GPS, which is sent to the computer. The gyro detects any sub's motion and sends it to the computer to update the lat/long and store it until the navigation team requests it or other ship weapon systems require accurate position data. A laser gyro is extremely accurate, with +/- seconds of error in a day. The system will be off by a few yards after a week without a satellite update.


Photos Credit: Google

Bottom-Contour Navigation determined a ship's position by using specific bottom-contour charts and sonar. These were very precisely measured areas that were run through several times and fixed in place with soundings.

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