Ukraine Military Using Valve’s Steam Deck As A Controller For Machine Guns

ukrainian soldiers using steam deck for machine gun turret - via TPO Media

Yet another example of Ukrainian creativity and resilience: using Steam Decks with machine guns.

The Ukrainian military is using Valve’s Steam Deck in an unexpected way as part of its defenses in the ongoing war with Russia. In some images posted on Facebook by TPO Media, which went viral over the weekend, Ukrainian soldiers can be seen using the Steam Deck to remotely control a large machine gun via a thick cable. This is yet another creative way Ukrainian soldiers are using tech designed for other purposes.

According to Vice, the turret controlled by the Steam Deck is a Shablya / Sabre model, developed by Ukrainian firm Global Dynamics, which was obtained by the Ukrainian army through a crowdfunding campaign.

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After raising about $12,000 for the Sabre turret on People’s Project, the Ukrainian army got 10 of the devices – and now they’re controlling them using modified Steam Deck controllers for PC gaming.

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“Very often low-flying UAVs are launched by the terrorists in reconnaissance to ascertain the Ukrainian army positions. Soon after, bombardment with grad rockets in an attempt to destroy our soldiers’ positions begins. The Sabre gun turret gives a soldier the ability to shoot down UAV as it approaches, establish the position of enemy artillery while making it near impossible to detect the position of our army,” explained the People’s Project campaign.

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Why a Steam Deck of all things? This PC gaming controller not only makes sense because it’s a very sensitive controller already fitted with a screen, it’s also Linux-compatible, which means it can be quickly adapted to this purpose.

The alternative would be to build a controller from multiple parts and fit it with a display but, since the Steam Deck is so affordable, it made perfect sense for this.

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