The USS Colorado went into service yesterday, it’s the largest Virginia-class attack submarine that the country’s navy has currently. The new submarine went into service from the aval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut and unlike submarines before it, the 377-foot-long and 7,800-ton sub is the first attack submarine to use an Xbox controller for maneuvering the photonics masts.
It had actually been confirmed by the Navy in September last year that its new submarines would feature photonics masts which will replace the periscope used on previous submarines. The masts have high-resolution cameras that are capable of rotating 360 degrees and relay those images back to monitors in the sub’s control room.
The USS Colorado is the 15th member of the Virginia class of submarines. It’s commanded by Cmdr. Reed Koepp who leads 130 men. While women do serve on submarines in the U.S. Navy, they haven’t been assigned to the new submarine just yet. The Navy builds its attack submarines in partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia at a cost of around $2.7 billion apiece.
Other submarines have joysticks but this is the first of its kind to feature an Xbox controller. It’s said that using this off-the-shelf technology helps the Navy save money while young sailors already know their way around the controller.