Ukraine’s Military Is Using the Steam Deck in an Interesting Way

Ukraine’s Military Is Using the Steam Deck in an Interesting Way

New videos show that the Ukrainian military is using Valve’s Steam Deck in an unexpected way as part of its defenses in the ongoing war.

New official photos and videos from the Ukrainian military show that it is using Valve’s Steam Deck to remotely control machine guns in the ongoing war with Russia. The unorthodox use of the Steam Deck is far from the first time video game material, whether software or hardware, has been used by a military force.

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine is illustrating every day how modern technology vastly changes modern war. In the internet age, technology allows nearly anything to be dispersed worldwide instantaneously, whether it be propaganda videos or a video game player leaking classified military documents, like what happend with War Thunder in 2021. Now the Ukrainian Defense Forces are utilizing a new piece of video game hardware, and the enemies it’s targeting will not be virtual.


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Photos and videos from TRO Media (Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces) show off its ability to remotely control turrets. The caption on Instagram says their setup, which utilizes a Steam Deck that likely runs a custom UI, allows the operator to be up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the gun itself. This is a great tool for protecting the life of the operator from the Russian forces that will be targeting the turret. The Instagram caption also notes that any anti-personnel or anti-tank weapon can be installed on the platform, not just the gun seen in the video. This is a fascinating Steam Deck accessory, but not one that will ever be available to the general public.

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It may seem strange at first to use hardware intended for exploring Cyberpunk 2077‘s Night City or swinging lightsabers in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor for purposes of actual war, but it’s actually fairly practical. The Steam Deck may be a little pricey for the average consumer, ranging from $399 to over $600 at its most expensive, but for military equipment it’s pennies, considering each military drone currently employed by both Ukrainian and Russian forces can cost upwards of $1 million each.

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The Steam Deck is also highly customizable, as opposed to its primary handheld competition the Nintendo Switch. It natively runs Linux, which allows for a wide range of options for anyone who wants to use it for purposes outside of what Valve has programmed it to do, and any gamer with a desire can even install Windows on their Steam Deck. So it’s far from an illegitimate use of video game technology in an age where more and more reports have been coming out about militaries using video games to train soldiers and run potential combat scenarios.

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