Old-school ‘Ouija Board’ being phased out on Navy carriers – Navy – Stripes

NAPLES, Italy – One of the most low-tech pieces of equipment on one of the Navy’s most high-tech ships is being replaced.

The “Ouija Board,” which has tracked aircraft movement on aircraft carriers since World War II, is being phased out of the sea service in the name of technological development.

It is the simplest of systems aboard nuclear reactor-powered ships. In a room next to the flight deck, with a window overlooking part of it, a handler officer watches over a tabletop model of the carrier. The officer’s assorted crew move models of jets, helicopters and other assets around the model deck to match the movements of the real-life counterparts lumbering just outside.

Updates are documented by sailors on the deck and delivered to the Ouija board’s operators. Small bolts are placed upright or on their sides to signify whether an aircraft has received fuel.

The Ouija board’s computerized replacement is currently only onboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, where its performance will be evaluated this summer. Plans are to install the new system on all carriers by 2015, according to Marcia Hart-Wise, a spokeswoman with Naval Air Systems Command.

via Old-school ‘Ouija Board’ being phased out on Navy carriers – Navy – Stripes.

It wasn’t broke. Quit trying to fix it. It’s not like it’s driving down the costs of buying ships.



6 responses to “Old-school ‘Ouija Board’ being phased out on Navy carriers – Navy – Stripes

  1. NaCly Dog

    Totally EMP-proof now. It this because today’s sailors can only interact with electronics, and not physical artifacts? Don’t think so.

    More probable, a “special contractor” has to get a revenue stream.


    • Jeff Gauch

      It would be, however, ABH3-proof. And let’s face it, after an EMP strong enough to take out ship’s systems like this, everything on the flight deck is just so much (probably radioactive) scrap.


  2. Ron Snyder

    Exactly NaCly Dog, Cui bono.


  3. NEC338x

    From the Specialty Systems Inc website:

    “Following fleet review of the prototype engineering model, OP NAV has moved to make ADMACS Block II an ACAT 1 program with full funding for system development across the entire carrier fleet starting in FY ’07. SSI has been a partner with the Navy in evolving this new carrier operating concept which is anticipated to reduce ship crew approximately 35 sailors per ship, improve the capability to provide sustained air operations and expand the number of daily sorties.”

    Really? 35 sailors solely dedicated to operating the Ouija board? Do they think GOFO’s are stupid?


  4. If it ain’t broke, fix it til it is. That’s how this stuff works.

    There was a fast Attack Sub that hit a seamount in the Pacific because of lack of positional awareness. This occurred post QM(SS) with the job being relegated to the technician that maintains the electronic nav aids. Removing QMs from subs was one of the dumber things they could do, but it’s clear Big Navy isn’t finished.


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