The deployment of the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear-powered Polaris ballistic-missile submarine, the USS George Washington (SSBN-598), was a true revolution in naval affairs thanks to her ability to launch missiles while submerged. But several groundbreaking technologies had to be developed for the Polaris system to come to fruition. Perhaps the most important of these was the highly accurate submarine inertial-navigation system (SINS) that could keep track of the submarine’s position without requiring the boat to obtain surface fixes. SINS permitted Polaris submarines to remain underwater for extended periods while providing the missiles with targeting data accurate enough to achieve the one-nautical-mile circular-error-probability precision for which they were designed.
Armaments & Innovation - Inertial Navigation Made Ballistic-Missile Submarines a Reality
By Thomas Wildenberg