Image credit – US Navy

On the surface the Xbox controller seems like a very standard gaming controller, but it looks like it is good enough for the US Navy to use. It seems that according to reports (via Engadget), the US Navy is expected to start equipping their Virginia-class submarines with Xbox controllers not for gaming, but for use to steer the submarine’s periscope.

Prior to this, the submarines relied on Lockheed Martin’s joystick controller which consisted of a joystick and a control panel that costs around $38,000. However despite the price tag and sophistication, it was apparently not particularly easy to use and required users to undergo hours of training just to learn how to use it.

Interestingly enough when the Xbox controller was tested as a potential replacement, sailors were able to figure out the controls within a few minutes, that and given that each Xbox controller costs considerably less than Lockheed Martin’s setup, this should save the US Navy money when it comes to replacements or repairs.

According to Senior Chief Mark Eichenlaub, the John Warner’s assistant navigator, “That joystick is by no means cheap, and it is only designed to fit on a Virginia-class submarine. I can go to any video game store and procure an Xbox controller anywhere in the world, so it makes a very easy replacement.”

Filed in Gadgets >General. Read more about Microsoft and Xbox.

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