USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nassau's (LHA 4) Navigation Department received new equipment June 23 during Trident Warrior 2009 (TW09), which may possibly streamline the way quartermasters do business and support operations.
As the flagship for TW09, Nassau hosted two-thirds of the 95 experiments taking place off the Virginia Capes June 22-26.
Trident Warrior is sponsored by commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and directed by Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM), focusing on at-sea technical experimentation of critical maritime technologies and focusing on speeding cyberspace technology to the warfighter.
The equipment, called the common geospatial extensible navigation toolkit, or COGENT, is a technology currently used aboard Nassau which is being tested to accurately gauge mission readiness.
"Currently, Nassau's quartermasters navigate with paper charts, using COGENT here and there," said Robert Greer, an advanced concepts chief engineer for Space and Naval Warfare Command.
"We are revamping the system, giving Nassau a communications network with Second Fleet, named Network Centric Mapping Distribution, or NCMD, making real-time updates of their electronic navigation charts available in minutes," said Greer.
Quartermasters normally spend several days updating the paper charts before going underway, which consumes time that could be spent actively training and planning other operations.
"While this new technology is extremely beneficial to the quartermaster rating, keeping the paper charts up-to-date is still a requirement." said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW/AW) Sylvester Johnson, navigation department's leading petty officer.
"COGENT will enable us to make updating the paper charts not so much of a do-it-now priority and enable us to focus on other evolutions and training our new quartermasters," said Johnson.
Chief Quartermaster (SW/AW) Robert Ricks said that if the training period during Trident Warrior is successful, COGENT and NCMD will significantly streamline the navigation process. It will also make the system more user-friendly.
"The new technologies the Navy is funding are beneficial for everyone because navigation will become safer and more efficient, allowing us to track ships' movement in real time and better relate navigation information to those not as familiar with the terms," said Ricks.
Greer explained that COGENT and NCMD will not replace the need for quartermasters. He said it will still be necessary to maintain paper charts and that Sailors will need to be trained in the operation of the new systems.
"The day when quartermasters are replaced by robots is a very long way away," said Quartermaster 3rd Class Shane Richardson.
TW09 is a team effort with assistance from Nassau, 2nd Fleet, 4th Fleet, 6th Fleet, USS Normandy (CG 60), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Farragut (DDG 99), USS Alexandria (SSN 757) and multiple U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft.
As the largest and most complex afloat experiment to date, the TW09 consists of 95 technologies and participation from government sponsors and industry sources to test cyberspace concepts and capabilities at sea, testing them in a real-world environment and learning what is useful and should be implemented or advanced on a fast track.
For more news from USS Nassau (LHA 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/