Ukraine army is using the Steam Deck to control machine gun turrets
Valve is unlikely to be pleasedBy Rob Thubron 15 comments
WTF?! The Steam Deck has a surprising number of uses, including doubling as a remote controller for a machine gun turret. Valve's handheld is being used this way by the Ukrainian army in its war against invading Russian forces.
Ukrainian News company TPO (via Tom's Hardware) posted a number of images on Facebook showing the country's soldiers testing a machine gun turret in a field. The weapon, Sablya, Is described as a "Ukrainian automated remote-controlled fire complex designed for stationary installation on real estate objects or special transport."
What's interesting about the photos is that one shows a soldier holding a Steam Deck, and he's not having a sneaky game of Vampire Survivors. The Linux-powered device is being used to control the machine gun remotely.
This automatic turret is the best use of Steam Deck I've seen so far ï¿½*ï¿½ï¸Â pic.twitter.com/J727aDbBPn– Sergey Mohov ï¿½" (@krides) April 24, 2023
The screen is blank so we can't see what the interface is like, but as the gun has a camera, it's probable that the feed can be viewed on the Steam Deck; it could be used to monitor the battlefield, aim at targets, and fire the weapon. Tom's speculates that because the turret is automated, the Steam Deck might be able to mark targets and let the gun do the rest.
The turret can be operated up to 500 meters away (almost a third of a mile). It can be equipped with any light anti-personnel or anti-tank weapons, including a Kalashnikov machine gun. The Facebook post states that the turret will be fitted at checkpoints and other key locations to help the Ukrainian military in its ongoing war efforts against Russia.
This isn't the first time gaming hardware has been used for military purposes. In 2018, the US Navy launched the USS Colorado, a Virginia-class submarine that uses an Xbox 360 controller to control its periscope-like photonics masts. Controllers have also been used to control drones and UAVs.
Valve is unlikely to be pleased to learn its Steam Deck is being semi-weaponized. But unlike SpaceX, which stopped Ukraine from using its Starlink service to control drones, there's little Gabe Newell's company could do to stop the practice.