US Navy uses Xbox controller to operate newest attack submarine USS Colorado

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A pair of Xbox 360 controllers. Pixabay

The USS Colorado, the United States Navy's newest submarine, is capable of launching multiple Tomahawk missiles and transporting Special Operations troops. It is also, to some extent, controlled by an Xbox 360 controller.

The new attack submarine recently went into service at the Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut. United States Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer has called it “a true marvel of technology and innovation.”

According to an official statement, the USS Colorado aims to maintain the “undersea superiority” of the US. With this in mind, plenty of factors come into play as far as budgeting is concerned.

Last year, The Virginia-Pilot reported that the Navy has begun to ditch the handgrips and imaging control panels of photonics masts, which serve as the replacement for periscopes. Normally, the original grips and panels cost about US$38,000 (AU$49,372). Xbox controllers, which only amount to more or less US$40 (AU$51.97) each, are considered more cost-efficient alternatives.

The report added that the idea came to fruition inside a research lab in Manassas, Virginia. Lockheed Martin and Navy officials worked to reduce costs, hence the integration of the Xbox controller, which they refer to as “commercial off-the-shelf technology.”

Commander Reed Koepp, the submarine’s commanding officer, told the Associated Press that using controllers not only saves money, it also provides the young sailors aboard the USS Colorado with a tool that they already know how to use. The AP adds that the Colorado is the first attack submarine to use an Xbox controller.

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