The US Navy’s fourth USS Colorado attack submarine has launched with an Xbox controller onboard. No, they won’t be using those controllers to play video games, rather they will be using the controllers to steer the vehicle’s two photonics masts, which can be thought of as high-tech replacements for typical periscopes.
Talking about the masts, they don’t require periscope tubes to work, and will only rely on high-res cameras to capture images to display on big screens. When the military first announced that it planned to use Xbox controller on the USS Colorado, they stated that the device would be replacing the joystick and control panel Lockheed Martin that was originally designed for the sensors.
In terms of finances, the original controls would have cost the Navy a whopping $38,000, which is a lot of money to spend on a system that sallies found difficult to use and clunky. Instead, Lockheed Martin subbed them with controllers during the trial phase. During that phase, they found that operators were able to figure out how to maneuver the high-tech periscopes using the devices within a few minutes. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on equipment and training, controllers are now being used and only cost $30.
The USS Colorado has officially launched, the Navy will now being using the 377-foot-Lon sub for surveillance and fight off enemy surface ships and submarines. It’s worth mentioning that it’s the only submarine that uses Xbox controller, but that won’t be the case for too long because the Navy plans to equip all modernized Virginia-class subs with one of these controllers in the future.