The United States Navy commissioned its newest fast attack submarine, the USS Colorado, over the weekend during a ceremony at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. As one one would expect, the USS Colorado is a marvel of undersea technology and design. What you probably did not expect, however, is that part of the submarine can be controlled with none other than an Xbox controller. Fancy that!
Strange as it may seem, the USS Colorado is the first attack submarine to allow sailors to use an Xbox controller to maneuver the photonic mast, which is a sensor that essentially acts as a periscope, but without the periscope tube. Traditionally, submarines have used joysticks to control the photonic mast. Commander Reed Koepp, the USS Colorado's commanding officer, told The Associated Press that using commercial off-the-shelf technology saves money. It might also save time, as many of the younger sailors reporting to the submarine already have a familiarity with the Xbox controller.
By the numbers, it might have made more sense to use a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, as there are more PS4 consoles in circulation than Xbox One systems. That is perhaps splitting hairs, though.
"USS Colorado is a true marvel of technology and innovation, and it shows the capability that our industrial partners bring to the fight," said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. "Today's world requires undersea platforms designed for dominance across a broad spectrum of regional and littoral missions, and I am confident Colorado will proudly serve in defense of our nation's interests for decades to come."
The next-generation attack submarine features a redesigned bow, which replaces a dozen individual launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each one capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. Like other Virginia-class subs, the USS Colorado is built to operate in the world's littoral and deep waters while conducting anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, special operation forces support, surveillance, and much more.
This is a sub that has been in construction since 2012. It is the fourth US Navy ship to be commissioned with a name honoring the state of Colorado, and the first to have an Xbox controller on board for purposes other than gameplay.
Thumbnail/Top Image Source: US Navy