US Navy submarines are getting Xbox 360 controllers to control their periscopes

US Navy Using Xbox 360 Controllers To Operate Submarine Periscopes

US Navy uses Xbox 360 controllers for its most advanced submarines

Just your average Xbox 360 controller.

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.

"It's kind of clunky in your hand; it's real heavy", said US Navy Lt. j.g. "One of the things that came out is the controls for the scope". Training time for the Xbox controller also decreased to minutes, compared to the hours it took to learn the helicopter-style joystick.

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Prior to this, the submarines relied on Lockheed Martin's joystick controller which consisted of a joystick and a control panel that costs around $38,000. Instead, the subs' periscopes have high-resolution cameras that display images on large monitors for everyone in each sub's control room to see. Do you envision any other uses for Xbox Controller?

According to a report, the periscope on the new Virginia-class submarines will be controlled by the very same Xbox 360 controllers that the sailors operating it will have used while playing games as they grew up.

The US Navy will begin stocking all new Virginia class subs with the legacy controllers in the future, starting with the USS Colorado due to be commissioned into active service later this year.

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Another advantage of not having a traditional periscope is that the pressure hull of the submarine is far stronger because it doesn't have to account for a vertical steel pipe sticking up through it.

After extensive testing, the controller-based system will make its debut with the USS Colorado, meant to be commissioned by November 2017.

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