The Navy’s Newest Submarine Uses An Xbox Controller For Its Masts

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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The U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear submarine uses an Xbox controller for its maneuvering.

The impressive, high-tech submarine, named the USS Colorado, is 377 feet long, weighs 7,800 tons submerged, travels at 25 knots, and has a beam of 34 feet. It joined the fleet in Groton, Connecticut, Saturday during a ceremony at a naval submarine base, Time Magazine reports.

Despite its overwhelming size and its ability to attack submarines and surface ships, control surveillance, deliver special operations troops, and launch missiles, some of the sub’s operations can be conducted by an Xbox controller instead of a mast handgrip and control panel.

The controller is used “to maneuver the photonics masts, which replaced periscopes, according to Cmdr. Reed Koepp, the Colorado’s commanding officer.”

In an interview with The Virginian Pilot, Lt. j.g. Kyle Leonard, the USS John Warner’s assistant weapons officer, explained the decision to include an Xbox controller in the construction of the new submarine:

“The Navy got together and they asked a bunch of J.O.s and junior guys, ‘What can we do to make your life better?’ And 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.”

An Xbox controller is easier for junior officers and sailors to get accustomed to, and vastly cheaper at an incredible $30, compared to $38,000 “for the photonic mast handgrip and imaging control panel,” BI reports.

The construction of the USS Colorado required ~$2.7 billion and thousands of shipyard employees in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia.