They already have an analogue wheel and throttles which feed into the digital system. Everything was going swimmingly until they started messing about in the digital system to separate steering and throttles. Going back to the old system would have prevented the incident as what they tried to do was impossible on the old system but they’d still have the problem that the QM felt overloaded steering and using throttles at the same time.I don't disagree with the need for good training & endorsement and a CO's ability to say his or her Ship has been made unsafe to sail through trickle posting and op tempo preventing training.
However, I don't understand where you get the ruinous expense of an analogue man-machine interface. A working system (analogue demand signal, analogue-to-digital converter, PLC) is within the reach of a good A Level electronics student. For the rudder systems, it has to be done ANYWAY, since the Ship's digital systems do need to know which way the analogue rudders are pointing. I accept that Navies will probably want more than the most basic signal, but it is producing a demand signal for a system that can fundamentally tolerate quite a bit of noise.
The mechanical components needed to produce the analogue system are more complex, sure, but they simply aren't in the same ballpark as modern weaponry or sensors. Nor, for that matter, is the extra cost of buying half-decent quality and spares in triplicate likely to register against the overall cost of the Ship nor the even month-by-month operating costs.
This isn't a plea on behalf of wastefullness. It's a question of whether a warship's requirements are sufficiently different from a large merchantman to justify spending a trivial amount (set against overall cost) for a bespoke control system interfacing with a COTS digital machinery management system.
I’m not saying it’s ruinously expensive to have a bespoke system. I am saying that relatively it’s more expensive to ask the company that provides bridge systems to companies for hundreds of ships to do something totally different for your dozen or so over a decade. They need to have different production lines with different parts and designers with the different knowledge which is being used very infrequently. They are going to charge through the nose to maintain that capability, there is no drive for competition and you land up in a sole supplier situation. It’s possibly an urban RN myth but Type 42 machinery control systems had components which, toward the end of the class's life, were refurbished by a guy in a shed on the Isle of Wight because there was not enough work to keep a company interested. I believe he lived well off that work.
The yanks appear to have upgraded their bridge systems from old componentry of switches and buttons through to electronic control signals to a new system with HMI. They may not have paid sufficient attention to human factors and have a system the users don’t like. They can go back to their old systems but they will be comparatively more expensive to maintain than a new system. My opinion is that upskilling the operators would be a better option. The fact that they decided to spend the money changing the system in the first place would appear to indicate that they made a valid business case for the capital expenditure. It being the military that may not actually be the case though.