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Ukraine's Army Has Found a Novel Use for the Steam Deck

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The Ukrainian army is using the Steam Deck as part of its military operations, but not as a method for soldiers to unwind with video games during downtime. Instead, the handheld PC is being used to remote control machine gun turrets deployed on the frontline.

As reported by PC Gamer, a video from TRO Media has demonstrated Ukrainian soldiers working with the “Shablya” turret (Ukrainian for “saber”), which is operated remotely by a Steam Deck.

As we’ve learned from a whole bunch of Tom Clancy and Call of Duty games, remote controlled turrets are very useful in warfare since they allow fire to be laid down without directly exposing a gun operator to enemy shots. The video offers a quick glimpse of how the Steam Deck interfaces with the turret, with a video feed from the weapon being displayed on-screen to enable target identification.

PC Gamer spoke to Aric Toler, a Bellingcat researcher who helped uncover a leak of classified military documents on Discord last month, and he explained why the Steam Deck was ideal for military use.

"Steam Deck is pretty perfect when you think about it," said Toler. "Totally native OS client, great controller you can use, touch screen, etc.

"It makes perfect sense for Steam Deck to be used, assuming the software is Linux-compatible (unless they went through the godawful process of dual-booting Windows on a Steam Deck)."

And at $399 for the base model, it is also potentially much, much cheaper than “insanely expensive” bespoke control modules.

For more on the Steam Deck, check out our review. We've no thoughts on how well it works as a remote control for ordnance, though.


Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Features Editor.

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