U.S. Navy will use Xbox controllers to manipulate submarine periscopes

(Image credit: Matt or Jez took this photo)

Xbox controllers aren't just for gaming anymore. The U.S. Navy has revealed (via Engadget) a plan to replace the joysticks it currently uses to control the periscopes on its Virginia-class submarines with Xbox 360 controllers.

The periscope system on Virginia-class submarines uses a complex system of cameras and electronic maneuvering that's more sophisticated than the typical single-user rotating periscope that most people are familiar with from movies and TV shows. The problem with that system comes down to cost: the helicopter-style joysticks it uses cost around $38,000 a piece.

Replacing the expensive joysticks with $30 Xbox controllers not only saves a ton of money, but younger sailors are likely to find the controls more intuitive as well.

According to the AP, the Xbox 360 controller setup will make its debut with the integrated imaging system on Virginia-class subs with the forthcoming USS Colorado.

Thanks to Muh K. for the tip!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Why not the Xbox one controller? Its more comfortable! (That battery placement aint that nice)
  • Most likely they will be the wired ones. Sine also the cable is molded into the controller. They won't be using wireless ones. Plus there is no official wired Xbox One controller (1st party)
  • want wired over wireless
  • They already use Xbox 360 controllers to fly drones and things. Let's just hope with the $37,950 they stock up on spares. Since I'm sure the other joystick things are a lot more reliable.