Department of the Navy History in Space


As a result of World War II, the United States, its allies, and its adversaries realized a number of profound technological capabilities (nuclear weapons, radar, electronic navigation, weapon guidance, long-range rockets (V-2), proximity fuzes, and so on) that would affect warfare forever. Yet by modern standards, the Department of Defense (DOD) in general and the Navy in particular had many deficiencies, including the following:

  • Long-haul wireless communications were limited to the high-frequency (HF) band and were often not available as a result of little-understood changes in the environment;

  • Navigation was inaccurate and uncertain—even when the Navy’s Long Range Navigation (LORAN) system was available, inaccuracies were generally in the range of 1 to 2 miles;

  • Environmental knowledge (regarding winds, wave height, cloud cover, storms, temperature, and sea conditions) was limited to the local area of an observer, and forecasting capabilities were limited or nonexistent;

  • Except for HF transmissions, the ability to track and identify beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) targets or transmitters did not exist;

  • Weapon delivery accuracy was appallingly poor, being limited by the lack of precise knowledge of the geolocations of both the weapon release platform and the target;

  • Target surveillance and identification were limited to the questionable capabilities of reconnaissance aircraft whose survival over enemy terrain was tenuous;

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