The military has always been at the forefront of technological advancements. So as soon as virtual reality started to become more powerful and broadly used, modern armies all around the world started testing its combative capabilities.
In this article, we will go a little beyond VR military solutions and talk about augmented and mixed reality too. The three technologies, which are collectively called extended reality (XR), often work best when combined, so we find it fitting to talk about all three.
How is VR used in the military?
Defense forces all around the world are making use of VR in the military for a list of purposes, training applications being its main application. Other utilizations of VR military solutions include treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and realistic simulations.
VR military training solutions
Like many others, the defense industry has found virtual reality to be great for carrying out effective training. VR military training allows soldiers to train for risky situations in safe conditions. It minimizes the cost of training and is extremely versatile – you can use it for training leaders, medics, teams, crews and more.
Remote battlefield control systems
The war in Ukraine has proven beyond doubt the massive role drones and other remote warfare means play on the modern battlefield. We believe XR can take these solutions to the next level.
For example, many unmanned vehicles could benefit from a 360° view of the battlefield. Using a VR headset, the commander would be able to watch all of the surrounding terrains thanks to a system of cameras on the vehicle. Of course, developing a reliable communication system is still a challenge, but there are already viable solutions used for drones.
VR in the military can also be used to train commanders and crews to operate their vehicles and vessels remotely. It would be almost identical to the real experience, as remote-controlled equipment would be handled using the same devices. So there would be no discrepancy between the two, and a massive amount of fuel could be saved, for example.
Treating PTSD among veterans
The sad truth is that war is an experience that changes people. Many veterans suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and have a hard time adapting to the new reality they face. According to Brainline and other sources, virtual reality can be effectively used to treat PTSD with exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy places the individual in a safe environment and exposes him or her to the things that trigger their PTSD. This, combined with care from a professional therapist, usually helps decrease the severity of stress responses over time. As you can imagine, it would be hard to recreate war experiences in a normal setting. This is where virtual reality exposure therapy can truly help.
Today’s army vehicles are made of expensive and oftentimes very complex components and elements. They require a crew of trained maintenance personnel for inspection and repairs. Although we did write a whole article about VR military training, we should mention that this personnel could be trained effectively with a custom virtual reality platform.
Another idea for using XR is to help less skilled personnel to perform easy repairs in the field with augmented reality. For example, an AR application could guide a truck driver who has no experience as a mechanic through fixing a broken radiator.
Or the maintenance team themselves could use augmented reality for complex repairs. They wouldn’t have to memorize everything or use impractical textbooks. They could also be assisted by a more experienced team in the headquarters using an AR remote support application.
Augmented reality for frontline soldiers
If you were to ask someone about their vision of future soldiers a few years ago, many would probably mention a futuristic closed helmet with a glass screen and a head-up display (HUD). Once such solutions were implemented in aircraft and land vehicles, it seemed like the next step would be to use them for other purposes.
Nowadays, with technologies like augmented and mixed reality, this futuristic helmet is no longer science fiction. XR could be used by troops to mark checkpoints and point out areas of danger, for example, traps set by the enemy. Upon approaching those places, friendly soldiers would see a warning or notification. All this could be supported by AI algorithms that would analyze the surroundings to help soldiers find snipers and points of interest.
AR could also be used for a HUD hands-free navigation system. This could be especially useful for situations where wounded soldiers find themselves lost in a foreign terrain and under enemy fire. Using a localizer installed in their equipment, a piece of software could swiftly lead a rescue party or medics to the injured combatants. With a hands-free AR screen, they would be able to navigate easily and hold arms at the same time, ready to open fire if the enemy shows up.
Harness the power of XR
As we discussed in this article, VR military solutions can help soldiers get ready for combat situations, improve their training, treat PTSD and help on the battlefield. Whether you work in the military or not, we’d be happy to tell you more about the opportunities XR technologies open for your organization. Our experts will gladly meet you to discuss your needs and propose effective solutions during a free 60-minute consultation.
Why should you choose 4Experience? Our biggest advantage is experience. Having started our journey in 2015, we’ve grown with the industry from its very beginning. We’ve made our mistakes, drawn conclusions and now provide only proven solutions. On the other hand, we believe one size does not fit all. So our projects are tailored to the specific needs of each client.
Marketing specialist with four years of experience. Having spent part of his childhood in Ireland, he's fascinated with its culture and language. Loves history, football and any form of writing.