Ukrainian soldiers use a Steam Deck to control a machine gun

Images and video show a turret remotely controlled by Ukrainian military personnel. The remote to turn and shoot is a Steam Deck, the game console produced by Valve.

After the tourist drones were modified by Ukrainian soldiers, here are the game consoles to actually wage war. On the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Ukrainian News Agency on April 21 published photos of new materials used by the military. We see a machine gun – model PKT – equipped with an ammunition tray and an electronic tripod. This last part has been transformed by Ukrainian engineers to make it mobile and remotely controllable. And the remote to control the gear and shoot is a… Steam Deck, is the handheld game console, marketed by Valve since 2022.

The machine gun placed on the electronic tripod is controlled by a remote control. // Source: ТРО Медіа

In addition to the photos, a video was released showing the prototype, with a remote-operated firing demo.

The Steam Deck interface runs on Linux, an operating system – comparable to Windows – present massively in mobile devices. It is also a product that developers love for its ergonomics. Ukrainian engineers were able to work perfectly on the interface of the console to transform it into a remote control. The joysticks and the screen of the console already make it a perfect piloting tool.

“Preserve the life of the operator”

The electronic tripod also has a name: “Shablia”, the saber in Ukrainian, in reference to the curved swords that the Ukrainian Cossacks carried in the 17th century. TRO Media, the press agency, specifies in its publication that this remote-controlled system is an “installation intended to be placed on immobile objects or vehicles while preserving the life of the operator ”. A camera is attached to the machine gun, probably for accuracy purposes.

The engineers behind the product had already started working on remotely controllable tripods since the first fights nine years ago. It was later funded through crowdfunding. The effectiveness of these turrets is still difficult to determine. These include whether the platform will be as quick as a human to spin and fire quickly at the same time. Nevertheless, it makes it possible to imagine the future evolution of military equipment.


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