U.S. Navy Replacing Touchscreen Controls On All Ships

Onboard the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge

The U.S. Navy is going old school after a fleet-wide survey found that most operators are not fans of the touchscreens used to control the ships. The Navy will be replacing all the touchscreens across its fleet with mechanical controls over the next two years.

The decision comes after a investigation into the fatal collision between the USS John S. McCain and a Liberian oil tanker off the coast of Singapore in 2017 found that the touchscreen controls were too complicated and were a contributing factor in the accident.

Following the collision, the Navy sent out the survey, which indicated most sailors preferred the mechanical control systems because they gave immediate feedback and were easier to use.

“When you look at a screen, where do you find heading? Is it in the same place, or do you have to hunt every time you go to a different screen? So the more commonality we can drive into these kind of human-machine interfaces, the better it is for the operator to quickly pick up what the situational awareness is, whatever aspect he’s looking at, whether it’s helm control, radar pictures, whatever. So we’re trying to drive that,” Rear Adm. Lorin Selby said during a panel at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium.

The Navy says they will begin installing the mechanical systems next summer.

Photo: Getty Images

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