New compass type

Royal Navy’s experimental ship carries out first trial of quantum navigation system - YouTube

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Before I even opened your topic, in my head I was thinking, “I bet it has quantum in the title”.

Actual quantum mechanics aside (very cool stuff indeed), the use of the term “quantum” in just about everything nowadays is getting to be a bit much. Personally, when it comes to compasses, I subscribe to the age old military acronym of K.I.S.S. But that may just be my own opinion.


Seems to be an inertial navigation system: From Janes. Quantum navigation sensor tested by RN

The quantum sensor developed by Imperial College London is a type of accelerometer.


Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen pointed out an apparent problem with quantum entanglement in 1935 that prompted Einstein to describe quantum entanglement as ‘*spooky action at a distance’.

There you go, simple.

As I understand it, inertial navigation has been used successfully on submarines for decades.

Provided that it isn’t hacked, it cannot be disrupted or spoofed.

I don’t understand why it is not standard equipment on all large ships.

It’s extremely expensive, difficult to calibrate and inaccurate compared to celestial tech.

Modern optics open up a tremendous amount of options for fixing positions from the sky, even in the absence of satellites.


Optics don’t work if it’s overcast.

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IIRC Inertial Navigation system was used on early Seismic Survey vessels, specially when operating in remote areas. Navigation systems requiring base stations to be placed ashore (Mini Ranger etc.) was costly, time consuming and sometime exposed to tempering, or theft of batteries.

I believe Ballistic missiles are fitted with optics to confirm their programmed track with celestial objects and there is no cloud in space.

Space Debris and Human Spacecraft | NASA

The SR-71 Blackbirds had automated celetial nav through a dorsal port.


INS is not the simple answer as the earth is spinning and rotating around the sun and our solar system is spinning in toward the sun.
a 3 axis optical is accurate for about 10 15 min then it needs an update.
Its all about how you update it so it can know where it is now, that is the issue.
Along with how accurate do you need it to be over what time?

Most DP rigs that go to west africa and some parts of Brazil generally have ins in the DP as they lose sat data every afternoon in some places.
On those rigs the crew should be getting a space weather report along with your normal so you know whats coming.