Xbox controllers will be used by US Submarines

Allan Goodman
September 20, 2017

In surveys, younger officers said they disliked current scope controls and found them to be clunky to operate.

An Xbox 360 controller is not an advanced piece of equipment but it appears that this is quite a smart usage of something that is readily available, cheap, efficient, and able to serve its goal.

The controllers will actually save the Navy tons of money, as they are much more cost-effective. Whereas the photonic mast handgrip system in use before would havecost upwards of $38,000, with only a few malls having a submarine periscope controller shop.

The controllers, which originally came out 12 years ago, will be first implemented into the USS Colorado in the upcoming months. Instead, periscopes aboard the U.S. Navy's Virginia-class subs consist of two 360-degree rotating photonics masts with high-resolution cameras.

But perhaps more important than the cost is the fact that using an Xbox 360 controller is nearly second nature to the current generation of young sailors.

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The Pentagon may become one of the biggest buyers of Xbox controllers soon because in the future the USA military wants to use them to control its laser weapons and other equipment.

It's not the first time Xbox 360 controllers have cropped up in the military world; footage from forward-operating camps in the likes of Afghanistan have shown the controllers being used to manoeuvre weapons and drones, including a US Army prototype laser gun created to shoot down shells and drones.

The images from above are cast onto screens allowing everyone in the control room to monitor the surroundings in real time. The Navy plans on implementing the new Xbox 360 hardware on future Virginia-class submarines.

At the time of writing, the US NAVY had not commented on whether its submarines would need an Xbox gold membership to unlock multiplayer modes, or if they would need an always on internet connection to get the most out of the new control system!

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