Everything modern has a touchscreen. Most of our gadgets have already made that transition, but it seems that as far as the US Navy is concerned, physical controls are still the best option in their line of work.
This news comes after an accident that took place back in 2017 where the USS John S. McCain had a collision which resulted in 10 Navy sailors being killed. Part of the reason behind the collision was the use of a touchscreen. Apparently, the design was overly complex, which coupled by the possible lack of training resulted in the accident. They want to avoid this kind of thing in the future.
So the US Navy will be getting rid of the touchscreens used in its destroyers over the next 18-24 months. They will be replacing them with more conventional helm controls and physical throttles. The changes will affect all DDG-51 class ships that use the Integrated Bridge and Navigation System. It’s a big change.
Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Bill Galinis says, “When we started getting the feedback from the fleet from the Comprehensive Review effort – it was SEA 21 (NAVSEA’s surface ship lifecycle management organization) that kind of took the lead on doing some fleet surveys and whatnot – it was really eye-opening. And it goes into the, in my mind, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ category.” Makes good sense.