The Ukraine army has taken the Steam Deck to the next level by using it as a remote-control gun turret. A recent video leaked from the Ukrainian military shows a Steam Deck being used to control a Shablya (Ukrainian for “saber”) turret, which was developed by Ukrainian company Global Dynamics. The turret is equipped with thermal imaging and a range finder and capable of handling different weapons like machine guns and grenade launchers.

A remotely-controlled turret is a perfect way to get a gun on the front line without exposing the people using it to enemy fire. The auto-translated closed captioning in a YouTube video makes that point explicitly: “It removes a person from the line of fire, makes it possible to provide [fire] support without being a priority target and causing enemy fire on ourselves.” With Steam Deck being a remarkably powerful and native OS client with excellent controller options that can be Linux-compatible, it is a perfect choice for this application.

The Ukrainian military used a video game controller because control modules on systems like this can be “insanely expensive”, and are also subject to export controls, making it challenging for officially non-aligned nations to acquire. Moreover, the all-in-one solution of Steam Deck provides fewer headaches involved all around, unlike a controller that needs to be plugged into a separate, discrete system.

It’s worth noting that the Ukrainian army didn’t make any mention of the use of the Steam Deck in its initial images. People who saw the videos and recognized the device brought it to wider attention. According to Aric Toler, who helped uncover the leak of classified military documents on Discord in April, the Ukrainian forces “probably just thought it was a standard control set” and didn’t make a fuss about it.

In conclusion, the use of Steam Deck as a remote-control gun turret controller showcases the true potential of the technology beyond gaming. With powerful controller options, touch screen, and an operating system compatible with Linux, the use of Steam Deck makes perfect sense when controlling a Shablya turret.

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The material in this article is written on the basis of another article.

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