Virtual reality and the Army

The Army use virtual reality in a variety of ways, from combat simulations through to medic training and even recruitment campaigns.

In the latter case, the British Army has used virtual reality to recruit potential soldiers from the 18 to 21 year old group. They have used virtual reality headsets which display interactive content.

The most obvious use is that of battlefield situations in which soldiers from infantry regiments need to be trained in dealing with life on the front line. Front line combat is a highly stressful situation which requires the soldier to have complex skills and techniques in order to handle this and most importantly, to stay alive.

VR for the next generation of soldiers

But what has been found is that today’s generation of soldiers have grown up with digital technology, for example computer games, so these have been harnessed as a training tool. Many soldiers play war themed virtual reality games and this is an ideal way of teaching them the techniques necessary to survive in a high pressure environment.

This is done by creating virtual environments which are replicas of the combat zones soldiers will find themselves in. For example, soldiers on a tour of duty in Afghanistan can fully immerse themselves in a virtual environment which is based upon one of the areas of combat.

This also enables them try out techniques taught in training and in a safe environment. They can be given a set of objectives which take place in a virtual environment where they are able to make mistakes but without causing harm to themselves or the rest of their platoon.

Army simulation training

Simulation is the theme in regard to army vehicles such as tanks or aircraft. Flight simulators are a well established training tool that has been adopted by the Army for combat situations. These simulators incorporate force feedback so that the army personnel experience what happens when they handle these vehicles. Plus they do so in any type of environment.

This means that they learn about how these vehicles handle in all types of environments and weather conditions.

These simulators can be networked together to enable several soldiers to participate in complex training situations. This is useful in situations where there is a mix of new and experienced soldiers. The new recruits can learn techniques from the experienced soldiers via a virtual environment.

Virtual reality technologies save time and money. The initial outlay is expensive but they have proven to be cost effective in the long term.

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