Game On! Navy Submarines’ Periscopes Will Soon Operate Using Xbox Controllers

CBS Local — As futuristic technology continues to make modern warfare look more like a video game, the U.S. Navy has revealed it’s bringing the video game world to its submarines.

According to a report on Military.com, the Navy is installing Xbox 360 game controllers onto its Virginia-class submarines. The handheld controllers will operate the periscopes on board the nuclear-powered vessels.

“The Navy got together and they asked a bunch of J.O.s (junior officers) and junior guys, ‘What can we do to make your life better?’ ” said Lt. Kyle Leonard of the USS John Warner. “One of the things that came out is the controls for the scope. It’s kind of clunky in your hand; it’s real heavy.”

Unlike the classic rotating tube periscope seen in submarine movies, hi-tech subs like the Virginia-class use digital cameras to view outside the ship. They were steered by helicopter-style joysticks that are reportedly unpopular with sub crews.

The change will likely make the new commander-in-chief very happy as well. President Trump has repeatedly spoken about his desire for better deals when it comes to military spending.

The current periscope joysticks, built specifically for the advanced attack subs, cost nearly $38,000. The clunky controller will be replaced by the lightweight gaming ones that usually cost around $30.

“That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine,” 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.”

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