By Office of Naval Research.

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) — Interactive software that can dramatically cut the time it takes to plan safe submarine missions is crossing over to the surface fleet and is being installed this month on the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), officials announced Dec. 16.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the technology adds speed and precision the process of finding the best routes around hazards in waterways around the world.

Sailors spend days or even weeks planning a successful navigation route for a mission. They collect maps and charts, analyze them, double check them and cross reference information that comes in various hard copy and digital forms.

Through partial automation and use of apps and widgets, ONR’s Mission Planning Application technology can review thousands of chart markings in a fraction of the time, pinpointing potential hazards and creating optimal routes around rocks, reefs and other shallow spots. What now takes days could take just a few hours or less, freeing commanders to concentrate on safely executing the mission at hand.

“Our goal is for Sailors to be able to carry out a mision effectively and safely,” said William “Kip” Krebs, program officer in ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department. “This system merges a variety of crucial data so planners can integrate information ahead of time and the command team can focus on the critical operations at hand.”

The easy-to-use tools synchronize navigation route plans to produce a visual composite of “what, when, where, why and how” for each mission. Relying solely on manual processes to gather, sort, search and maintain massive amounts of complex data is time consuming and subject to human error, officials say.

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