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Arctic Acoustic Positioning System for Submerged Vehicles. 

Experience conducting research with the US Naval submarine fleet and other Arctic endeavors has shown that both manned and unmanned submarine vehicles operating in Arctic waters for extended periods suffer from significant navigational inaccuracies. Ice cover prevents these systems from acquiring GPS or other fixes to correct inertial systems that have drifted. Ice camp and ship support is limited to their respective immediate areas.

For the Naval submarine fleet and the research conducted aboard these ships, correcting navigational inaccuracies translates to days of lost time. Locating surfacable features and obtaining GPS fixes requires on the order of 12 to 48 hours or longer - a significant portion of a 40 day cruise if it must be repeated weekly.

To provide navigational information to submarines, AUVs, rovers, and other sensors operating in the Arctic, small self deploying buoys containing GPS receivers and a simple transducer/acoustic modem could be launched from airplanes over wide areas. Time synchronized with the GPS time standard, a buoy could transmit its location exactly on the minute. Vehicles in the area could, in turn, get a bearing and range to determine their own position. The result would be an effective extension of the Global Positioning System to subsurface operations in the Arctic.