War Games: Xbox 360 Controllers Will Operate Submarine Periscopes

Angelica Greene
September 20, 2017

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.

While most people associate Xbox 360 with a group of teenagers drinking Mountain Dew as they play one another late into the night, it turns out the U.S. Navy is now opting for the popular gaming device.

For years, Xbox 360 controllers have simulated war.

Newer Virginia-class submarines don't have traditional periscopes like those seen in movies such as The Hunt For Red October, where one person at a time peers through a periscope. Periscope viewing is now performed via high-resolution cameras that relay their video to big-screen displays. Kyle Leonard, the USS John Warner's assistant weapons officer, referring to junior officers and sailors.

For the Navy and partner Lockheed Martin, a major reason behind the change was familiarity.

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Tanks, missile carriers, and artillery were involved in the drills. A generator and satellite dish could be seen at one location.

"That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only created to fit on a Virginia-class submarine", Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub said.

The modernized version of Virginia-class submarines will be equipped with them and stocking has already begun by the US Navy.

"I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement".

The controllers are also vastly less expensive: Whereas the older system, called a photonic mast handgrip and imaging control panel, costs about $38,000, an Xbox 360 controller is just $30 to $40.

The Navy has extensively tested the system and plans to put it into use on the USS Colorado in November, and other Virgina-class submarines in the future.

Other reports by GizPress

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