The newly-commissioned US Navy attack submarine is partly operated with an Xbox 360 controller. The USS Colorado officially went into service on March 17th, 2018 at the Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut. As reported by Associated Press, this will be the first attack submarine in history to use a gaming pad to maneuver its photonic masts. The photonic masts replace the telescopes from older submarines, which has always been more commonly depicted in movies, television shows, and pop culture. In comparison, other modern submarines only use joysticks instead of gaming pads.
Last year, it was originally reported by The Virginian Pilot that the US military started replacing its $38,000 photonic mast handgrip and imaging control panel with the significantly cheaper Xbox 360 controllers, which typically costs less than $30.
USS John Warner Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub said: “I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.” Tests by Lockheed Martin also revealed that sailors were able to figure out how to use the Xbox 360 controllers in mere minutes compared to the hours of training required to handle the military joystick.
Surprisingly, the USS Colorado isn’t even the first time that the US military has used the Xbox 360 controller. Back in 2014, Kotaku reported that the US military was using said gaming pads to control the Boeing-built High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). That’s basically a laser cannon equipped on a truck designed to shoot airborne targets with focused energy rays.
The Xbox 360 controller originally debuted with the console over 13 years ago in 2005. Gamers still hail the Xbox 360 controller as one of the best gaming pads ever made, especially with its tight trigger buttons and great overall design. Even when the Xbox One was released back in 2013 along with a new controller, the controller design remained largely the same as its predecessor, albeit with minor improvements and changes.
Image Credit: Steven Hoskins/U.S. Navy via AP