Ukrainian soldiers have to be inventive in their fight against the Russian army. For example, commercially available drones are used for reconnaissance and to fight enemy troops. But the Ukrainian soldiers have also found a military application for Valve’s handheld Steam Deck gaming console.
The mobile PC is used to control machine gun emplacements from a distance. The system, called “Sabre,” was created via a crowdfunding platform that was founded after Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
Remote control for large machine guns
In a video posted on Facebook, Ukrainian soldiers can be seen using the Steam Deck, primarily designed for PC gaming, to remotely control a large machine gun via a thick cable. “Sabre” is supposed to help repel attackers from a safe distance, and control weapons of different types, from an anti-tank gun to a Kalashnikov.
In the published video, a PKT-type machine gun can be seen being supplied with new ammunition via a belt. The heavy machine gun is normally mounted on vehicles. Therefore, it is already designed to be fired from a distance. According to the Ukrainian development team, “Sabre” can protect the survival of Ukrainian soldiers in war, as they no longer have to stand unprotected behind the machine gun.
In the crowdfunding campaign that has been running since 2015, more than $12,000 has been raised to pay for the project. The first prototypes weren’t built for Valve’s Steam Deck, which wasn’t launched until 2022. But eventually the hardware built for gamers met all the requirements of the Ukrainian army.
Other countries have similar systems. South Korea, for example, secures its borders with North Korea with automatic gun turrets. Israel has AI-supported turrets called “Smartshooter” in use at its borders.
This article originally appeared on PC-Welt, and has been translated from German to English.