The plan was thought up at HMS Collingwood, where electrical engineers are trained. A quarter of recruits were having to retake courses, which led instructors to try a new approach to studying. The PSPs are loaded with study packages, which have coursework commentaries and on-screen practice tests for recruits to sharpen their minds.
Marine warfare engineering technicians, who maintain the fleet’s radar, sonar, VHF radio and communications systems, are the trial group of sailors for the plan. If it goes well, PSPs could be shipped throughout the Navy, starting with air and marine engineers and potentially moving on to others
Engineering technicians on the destroyer HMS Liverpool were the first to be given the consoles. Submariners at Faslane naval base on the Clyde get theirs later this week and those elsewhere in the fleet will follow.
PSPs were chosen for the job because of their small size and robustness. Lieutenant-Commander Mark Williams, who developed the idea, said: “On most ships, the space people have is quite small. Many have bunks with just a couple of feet above. This is the sort of thing that can be used in a bunk space.” He also decided not to disable the game-playing facilities, on the grounds that a console will be “better looked after” if it can still be used to play GTA.