The US Navy is set to use Xbox controllers to steer its submarines

The US Navy has begun stocking its Virgina-class submarines with Xbox controllers, which sailors will be able to steer their vessels with.

If anyone’s ever told you that your skills with a games controller will get you nowhere practical beyond e-sport stardom, here’s a fun fact to throw back: The US Navy is set to introduce Xbox controllers as the standard joystick aboard its new Virginia-class submarines.
The solution is a creative one aimed at redressing a very complicated problem; each modern US submarine has traditionally used a $38,000 USD Lockheed Martin joystick and control panel, which sailors can spend hours training with.
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Instead, tests conducted with the Xbox 360’s controller have demonstrated that sailors have been able to learn controls within the scope of a few minutes – further, the controller is significantly cheaper, and only costs the US Navy around $30 USD per unit.
The Xbox 360 controller is now slated to become part of the US Navy’s Virginia-class submarines, and will first be introduced onboard the USS Colorado, which is expected to be commissioned in November this year.
The news will at least give Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controllers a new home, considering that the Redmond company recently debuted two new Xbox One consoles – the Xbox One S and Xbox One X – which leverage the newer Xbox One controller.
It remains to be seen if the US Navy will proceed to introduce the controller aboard its other vessels beyond its submarines in a bid to cut costs and training periods.
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What are your thoughts? What applications could other gaming items serve in the wider technology industry? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA