The United States Navy’s newest submarine, the USS Colorado, is partially controlled by a 12-year-old piece of gaming tech: an Xbox 360 controller. The 377-foot, 7800-ton vessel is reportedly the first attack sub that uses an Xbox controller to manipulate some elements.
The controller is used to control the ship’s photonic masts, which are similar to periscopes that allow crew members to see above water. Normally, these are controlled with joysticks. Commander Reed Koepp told the AP that using commercially available technology like Xbox 360 controllers saves on costs and gives new sailors familiar equipment to work with.
#USNavy will commission its newest fast attack submarine, the future #USSColorado #SSN788, tomorrow at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, #Connecticut. – https://t.co/5Ujy6nC7Qf pic.twitter.com/EmkPa2bDPg
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) March 16, 2018
As Kotaku points out, the The Virginian Pilot reported last year that the Navy was spending around $ 38,000 on its custom-made joysticks and related apparatus for submarines. The Xbox 360 controller, of course, costs less than $ 50.
The third image in the gallery below shows a USS Colorado sailor using an Xbox 360 controller to manipulate the photonic masts.
The USS Colorado will be used to fight other submarines, conduct surveillance, and move Special Op soldiers. Additionally, it can fire Tomahawk missiles.
“USS Colorado is a true marvel of technology and innovation, and it shows the capability that our industrial partners bring to the fight,” Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said in a statement. “Today’s world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions, and I am confident Colorado will proudly serve in defense of our nation’s interests for decades to come.”
This is not the first time the US Military has used an Xbox controller for one of its creations. In 2014, the US Army announced a new laser canon that is controlled in part by an Xbox 360 controller.