The Ukrainian army has a new weapon in the fight against Russian invaders: Valve’s Steam Deck handheld.
As Vice report, Ukraine’s TPO Media recently posted some videos and photos of a new variation of the Sabre weapon system on its Facebook page. The Sabre, whose full name is the Sabre Remote Weapon Station, was built from scratch by Ukraine back when Russia first invaded the Crimea, and paid for by a crowdfunding site setup to help fund Ukraine’s defence.
The Sabre is essentially a sentry gun, a remote-controlled weapons platform that can be placed where needed then operated from a distance, without risk (or with reduced risk) to the user. While originally conceived as a defence against UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), it was quickly found that a real-life sentry gun was useful in all kinds of battlefield situations where a defensive position was required.
The first edition of the Sabre (seen in the video above) was controlled with a joystick, and aimed using a separate monitor system, but a 2023 update is seeing the Sabre equipped with something a bit more modern: a Steam Deck, which is able to combine both the controls and the screen on the one device.
Here’s some footage of the latest model in action—which as you can see has had other improvements across the board, reducing its size and streamlining its design—showing how the user can sit protected in a nearby trench while the weapon fires:
This latest model of the Sabre can fire a number of different types of ammunition, and can be mounted either on the ground or a vehicle. TPO say the effective range of the Steam Deck’s link to the weapon is around 500 metres (1600 feet), and that in addition to the direct camera feed it also comes equipped with a number of extra sensors.