Xbox 360 controllers are now being used to control the U.S. Navy's latest Virginia-class attack submarine. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer called the vessel a marvel of technology in the release of the submarine.
This is the first attack submarine that can be controlled with an Xbox 360 controller.
Cost Saving Measure
The Xbox 360 controller is being used to maneuver the photonic masts which accomplish the same job that periscopes used to have. Other submarines use joysticks to be able to accomplish the same job. This move was done more as a cost-saving technique.
The submarine is called the USS Colorado and is a Virginia-class submarine able to launch Tomahawk missiles. It is able to fight submarines and surface ships, conduct surveillance, and deliver Special Operations troops.
Instead of relying on expensive machinery that requires the crew members to be trained with, now using off-the-shelf technology allows crew members to use the equipment right away because many of them have previously used an Xbox controller.
This isn't the first time that the Navy has turned to the Xbox 360 controller for help on one of its vessels. In September 2017, it was reported that the Navy would start to replace its $38,000 joystick controllers with Xbox 360 controllers because of the reduction in costs. It would not only be cheap to acquire the controller, but they would also be easier to replace than the current technology.
The Army also used the Xbox 360 controller for its high-energy laser gun that's used to take down drones and mortar shells.
Why Xbox 360 Controllers
As previously stated, the use of Xbox 360 controllers would significantly bring down costs for the military. In the past, the joysticks would cost as much as $38,000 and they were not easy to replace. An Xbox 360 controller costs $34.95 and is widely available. This means that if the controllers were to break down, the Navy could easily replace them without worrying about costs.
The idea to use Xbox 360 controllers for the new Virginia-class submarines reportedly came from Lockheed Martin. It runs a classified research lab that works to find ways to use commercial technology like like the Xbox Kinect and Xbox 360 controllers in Navy submarines.
Reporters noticed that Xbox controllers were being used in images and videos of military combat demonstrations.