The Steam Deck is a remarkably highly effective piece of {hardware}, able to doing all kinds of attention-grabbing issues. However the Ukrainian navy seems to have discovered one use that I am fairly certain wasn’t anticipated in any of Valve’s design conferences: As a controller for a distant gun turret.

Pictures of the Steam Deck purportedly getting used to regulate a gun turret first turned up in mid-April, shared by TRO Media, however they regarded somewhat suspect: There was nothing to point that the Steam Deck in query was getting used as a part of the weapon, and never only for a spot of Vampire Survivors throughout a reload. 

(Picture credit score: TRO Media)

Extra just lately, although, video from what seems to be the identical occasion has turned up, and a Steam Deck is clearly getting used to regulate the turret.

The aim of a remotely-controlled turret is apparent: Get a gun on the entrance line with out exposing the individuals utilizing it to enemy fireplace. The auto-translated closed captioning on this separate YouTube video (which additionally exhibits the Steam Deck in use as a turret controller, however does not have as clear an angle on it) makes that time explicitly: “It removes an individual from the road of fireplace, makes it attainable to offer [fire] help with out being a precedence goal and inflicting enemy fireplace on ourselves.” However why use a Steam Deck for such a factor?

It really makes plenty of sense, based on Bellingcat researcher Aric Toler, who helped uncover the leak of categorized navy paperwork on Discord in April. 

“Steam Deck is fairly excellent when you concentrate on it,” Toler informed PC Gamer. “Completely native OS shopper, nice controller you should utilize, contact display screen, and so on.

“It makes excellent sense for Steam Deck for use, assuming the software program is Linux-compatible (until they went by way of the godawful strategy of dual-booting Home windows on a Steam Deck).”

There is a sensible upside to utilizing Steam Decks on this utility too. $399 for a base mannequin Steam Deck is not low-cost, however Toler stated that management modules on techniques like this may be “insanely costly,” and are additionally topic to export controls, that means they are often tough for formally non-aligned nations to accumulate. Steam Deck availability, however, all comes right down to Valve’s manufacturing capability, and since it is an all-in-one resolution slightly than a controller plugged right into a separate, discrete system, there are fewer complications concerned throughout.

From the video embedded up high, this is a have a look at the turret management UI on the Steam Deck:

(Picture credit score: TRO Media)

The turrets, known as Shablya—Ukrainian for “saber”—have been really developed some years in the past by Ukrainian firm World Dynamics. They’re outfitted with thermal imaging and a spread finder, and may deal with plenty of totally different weapons together with machine weapons and grenade launchers. In 2015, a crowdfunding marketing campaign run by way of the Ukrainian navy and civil crowdfunding site Folks’s Challenge raised ₴445,000 ($12,000) to fund and maintain 10 Shablya turrets for the Ukrainian navy.

In response to Ukrainian web site Vikna.television, a batch of Shablya turrets was just lately deployed with Ukraine’s 68th Jaeger Brigade. The unit just lately posted its personal video of the turret in use on Fb.

Mockingly, not one of the Ukrainian websites that hosted or shared the pictures made any point out of the presence of a Steam Deck—as a substitute, it was individuals who noticed the movies and acknowledged the machine that introduced it to wider consideration. Toler speculated that the Ukrainian forces “most likely simply thought it was a normal management set” and so did not make a fuss about it.