The Aegis guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) is equipped with the first Electronic Chart Display and Information System – Navy (ECDIS-N) approved for use by Navy surface ships. ECDIS-N, developed by Northrop Grumman
’s Sperry Marine business unit
, was authorized for use in May 2005 after an extensive certification process to ensure it met the Navy’s requirements for safe navigation.
Northrop Grumman has supplied the advanced Integrated Bridge System
and Voyage Management System electronic charting software for the first U.S. Navy ship authorized to navigate using Digital Nautical Charts
(DNC) supplied by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Sperry Marine’s Integrated Bridge System was installed in USS Cape St. George earlier this year as part of a fleet-wide program to upgrade the Navy’s surface ships and submarines with ECDIS-N systems. The ECDIS-N system interfaces with the ship’s GPS receivers and other navigation sensors to give the ship’s watchstanders a computerized real-time view of the ship’s position and movement on an electronic-chart display. It also provides an automated capability for route planning and DNC correction to include the latest “Notice to Mariners” information.
“ECDIS-N provides many time- and energy-saving benefits to the crew,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Shanley, navigator of USS Cape St. George. “The paperless system eliminates many of the labor-intensive aspects of maintaining hundreds of charts. It eliminates the need to make constant pen-and-ink updates on the paper charts; instead, the corrections are downloaded directly into the computer, ensuring that we are always using the most up-to-date chart information.”
The Voyage Management System provides an extra margin of safety when operating in restricted waters. “We don’t have to wait to plot visual compass bearings or radar ranges by hand on the paper chart, since the computer updates our position relative to navigation aids and potential hazards on the screen instantly,” said Shanley.