U.S. Navy Submarines Use Xbox 360 Controllers To Control Their Periscopes

The first submarine to get Xbox 360 controllers to operate their periscopes was the USS Colorado, which went into active duty in November 2017. The controllers replaced a complex-looking, helicopter-style control stick. The innovation was the Navy’s response to feedback given by junior officers and sailors who said the original controls were “clunky and heavy.” In addition to being hard to manage, the hand grip and imaging control panel cost about $38,000, compared to the Xbox 360 controller’s cost of around $20. Training time for the Xbox controller also decreased to minutes, compared to the hours it took to learn the helicopter-style joystick. If the controls break, all the Navy has to do is procure them from any video game store anywhere in the world.