How important is training in the military? Anyone who had anything to do with the army understands its crucial role. The abilities to effectively use a weapon, give and receive orders as well as follow procedures are what make the difference during martial operations. Recently, a new, supereffective tool is on the rise. We’re talking about virtual reality solutions. But what makes VR military training so outstanding? Let’s find out.
What are the benefits of VR military training?
Generally speaking, VR has the potential to make virtually any type of training cheaper and more effective than traditional methods. It also automates the process and facilitates skills assessments. Virtual reality is the future of military training, and it’s proving to be incredibly effective.
One of the main benefits is significant cost savings. Operating any type of military vehicle, aircraft or vessel is extremely expensive. During a short drill, the fuel consumption alone can eat up thousands of dollars. And the price of firing rounds is no different.
The ARMS study estimated that preparing a soldier for their first operational assignment costs around 36,000 USD. Assuming the headcount of an army brigade numbers around 5,000, the initial training of such a unit costs a staggering 180 million USD. As a rough estimate, we could say that at least 20% of this figure (36 million USD) are training-specific costs, not related to food or accommodation.
Now let’s assume 1/4 of the training could be transferred to virtual reality. We end up with potential savings of up to 9 million USD! The VR application development should cost no more than a million dollars and purchasing 1700 headsets would cost approximately another 500 thousand. So all in all, in just this one instance, VR military training can create savings of around 7,5 million USD.
Effectiveness and efficiency
Of course, soldiers must gain experience with the actual weaponry and equipment they might later use in battle. But transferring some parts of the training to a virtual environment will not have a negative impact on its effectiveness. Quite the contrary, studies show that VR training is more effective in many cases. For example, it’s a lot more effective in transferring theoretical knowledge than traditional lectures.
Does the military use VR for training?
Yes! Different armed forces from around the world are already using virtual reality for their training efforts. This includes all of their branches: the land, air and naval forces, as well as commando units.
The crews of aircraft, armored vehicles, boats and warships can now train for battle from the comfort of a VR headset. And this works for almost every part of the learning process, from adapting procedures, to operating equipment and guns. We can also extend this idea to the training of artillery units.
How would this work? That depends on the specific skills we want the trainees to learn. If we’re interested in improving the way crews communicate and carry out procedures, we can create a virtual environment that focuses on that exact aspect. Such applications already exist and we even had the chance to create one. It was a training experience for flight deck officers.
But a sophisticated VR application can also calculate the flight trajectory of projectiles, meaning we can develop an extremely precise simulation for gunners to train accuracy. We can also faithfully replicate the interior of a specific vehicle to make the crews familiar with how it operates and how to operate it.
Simulating emergency situations
By using military training VR, you can also put soldiers in extremely realistic emergency situations without risking their lives. Virtual reality allows us to simulate all sorts of accidents, failures and life-threatening scenarios. Because of how immersive it is, the experience is very memorable. Whether you’re simulating fires, direct hits or just bad weather conditions, soldiers will be familiar with these situations and less likely to panic during an actual crisis.
Who can make use of VR simulated training environments? First and foremost, the crews of military vehicles and naval vessels. But the same type of training can be used by soldiers who make up the garrisons in immobile fortifications. What’s important, it’s possible to create one universal platform with different customizable scenarios for different units.
Leadership & command training
Another application of virtual reality is training leaders and improving the cooperation of teams. This is especially important in the military, where every cog in the machine has to run steadily and uninterruptedly for the war machine to function properly.
Virtual reality solutions are useful in this field because they are immersive and reduce the influence of distractions in the users’ surroundings. They also make use of gamification techniques. This way participants are more engaged in the learning process. They enjoy it and put effort into achieving the best results.
VR arena for combat training
With military training VR, soldiers can get battle-tested without ever stepping onto a battlefield. This can be achieved using a virtual reality arena. A solution useful mainly for infantry and commando units, it allows groups of soldiers in a physical arena, with physical weapons to get immersed into a virtual world with a customized scenario.
We created something similar for one of our clients. They used a virtual reality arena for a multiplayer shooter game. It consisted of advanced motion tracking devices, physical guns, haptic vests and customizable VR scenes.
Develop virtual reality with an experienced partner
As with any software development, creating virtual reality applications requires a well-led and organized team of designers, artists, UX specialists and programmers. At 4Experience, we have worked on more than 200 projects for clients from all around the world, including military organizations. Our versatile development team is supplemented by specialists from different industries and fields of business.
If you’re looking to develop any form of VR training for your organization, contact us. We offer a range of business consulting and development services. Schedule a free 60-minute consultation with one of our experts today!
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.