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OMEGA navigation system

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NEWS RELEASE NO. . 25th March, 1971.


The Minister for foreign. Affairs, the Honourable Leslie

Bury, M.P. , issued the following statement this evening 25th March:

. ' "My attention has been drawn to' a press release' by

Mr. Barnard today commenting on the statement which the Prime Minister

■ issued' on.Monday on the OMEGA navigation system, .

Mr. Barnard blaims that the Prime Minister's statement

of 22nd March gave "no hint" of the military aspect of the OMEGA

system and that he put the "whole emphasis" on the civilian side.

· . ■ · · · - - . · . · . . . . .

On the contrary the statement made it clear that the system could

be used by' ships and aircraft of any type fitted v/ith the '

appropriate equipment. '

' A t the same time the Prime Minister emphasised 'that

the system was not sufficiently accurate for effective use by ' '

ballistic missile Submarines or in close coastal waters. I fully

confirm 'that c omme'nt.

In optimum conditions the system does not give a

"fix" v/ith a closer accuracy than one or two nautical miles: in

other situations its accuracy may be no closer than five miles.

Mr. Barnard suggests that this standard of accuracy may be

sufficient for a "soft" target such as a city. Why should a

ballistic missile submarine rely on a system with this mar.-: in of

error when it is already equipped with an inbuilt inertial

navigation system with a higher degree of accuracy? For this


reason the OMEGA project manager announced publicly in April"" *' '

19.69 that no OMEGA receivers were or would be installed in - · ' · v; - ■ /

. . . ; ·. . . ' . < :

Polaris submarines. '

It is true, as Mr·. Barnard, suggests,, that such,

inertial systems require periodical up-dating, but this is done

by astro fixes and other precise means. It is obvious that

adjustments to a high-precision system would not be done by '

reference to another system with an error margin of one or two

miles at the bes t . . . . . . . .

I have no knowledge of any research being con­

ducted into the use of the OMEGA system for close support

tactical aircraft and long-range artillery. My technical , .

advice, however, is that other existing systems are adeqpate . .

and of greater precision than the OMEGA system would be likely .

to provide. In any case a station in South Eastern Australia

would be rather remote, in present circumstances, from any

area where close aircraft or artillery would be likely to be

involved. . , .

Mr. Barnard says a complete OMEGA system is to be

controlled by the United States Coast Guard Service. . It may well

be that the Coast Guard Service would represent the United States

in the control organisation, but I repeat what the Prime Minister

said on Monday - it is envisaged that the overall control of the

system will be vested in a body composed of representatives of

each of the eight participating nations." . .. ·