Virtual reality is used alongside other training methods as part of a boot camp. At these camps soldiers are taught weapons drill, physical training (fitness), survival skills, drill and other skills necessary to produce an elite fighting force.
Team training is a vital part as soldiers operate in groups or platoons and must learn how to function as part of a team. Part of this includes team tactics for combat situations where soldiers learn skills necessary to navigate and deal with these situations. This includes planning an assault on a military target, dealing with battle field casualties or adapting to hostile terrain, e.g. desert conditions.
Trainee soldiers need to acclimatise themselves as well as learn techniques and methods necessary for unpredictable or complex situations. This means instant reactions to dangerous situations where even a monetary delay could be fatal.
One way of addressing this is to develop a virtual environment which contains a range of different scenarios that a trainee soldier is likely to encounter. The soldier is able to move around this environment and interacts with events in that situation. They wear a head mounted display (HMD), a weapons controller which looks and behaves in the same way as a real weapon and other virtual reality gear. Their HMD contains microphones and a tracking system which displays images that change as the soldier moves his/her head.
This gives the feel of being in a real terrain with real elements.
What is also does is to enable new recruits to learn skills and tactics from experienced soldiers who will show them ways of staying safe in a hostile environment.
The Army considers virtual reality a complimentary tool alongside traditional forms of training such as field exercises, weapons drill, physical training etc.