Navy will use Xbox controllers to operate submarines

Joanna Estrada
September 19, 2017

This cool solution came out of a rather expensive problem. Here's a classic example for the same.

Roll on a twelve years and the venerable controller has been replaced by the updated Xbox One controller, with its rumbling triggers and refined design. The military asked junior officers and sailors about ways they could make improvements, and the feedback coupled with work alongside Lockheed Martin resulted in the Xbox 360 controller being utilized.

On the surface the Xbox controller seems like a very standard gaming controller, but it looks like it is good enough for the US Navy to use.

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

According to the report, a $30 controller can replace $38,000 worth of gear.

"That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only created to fit on a Virginia-class submarine", Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub said. However despite the price tag and sophistication, it was apparently not particularly easy to use and required users to undergo hours of training just to learn how to use it. Lockheed Martin said sailors were able to pick up the controller scheme within minutes and for the Navy, the shorter training time is a secondary benefit. The Xbox controller will be included as part of the integrated imaging system for Virginia-class submarines beginning this November.

It makes sense that various military organisation would want to tap into the skills gamers have developed, but we can't help wonder why the US Navy went for Xbox 360 controllers and not Xbox One or even the equally capable PlayStation 4 controllers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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