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Virtual Reality Uses in the Military

Virtual reality is a term that describes the technological mimicry of the real and imaginative worlds in a computerized, interactive environment. VR is a completely immersive, all-encompassing visual and sound-based experience for its audiences.

Though by no means a novice technology, VR has roots dating back to the late 1800’s. While today, it’s most populous use might be in the entertainment business; in video games, amusement parks, and the likes, virtual reality is also significantly used in a number of massive industries and sectors. From government to industrial labs, and education, as well as the medical profession, VR is everywhere. However, the most widespread use of VR, apart from entertainment, is in the military.

The Navy, Army and Airforce, all three services of the military have long since adopted the use of virtual reality. In fact, war simulations for training purposes have been in play since the 1920’s. The military has invested and will continue to invest billions in the industry. Based on the number of VR projects taking center stage for the armed forces, and as projected by Goldman Sachs, the industry is expected to generate a significant $1.4 billion in revenues solely from the military, by the year 2025.

The Importance of VR in the Military

The use of virtual reality in the armed forces did not begin on a whim or as an experimentation of the newest technology. A very well thought out decision, VR was opted by the armed forces for it is a particularly useful training tool.

The actual importance of VR in the military lies in its ability to prepare the soldiers for extremely dangerous situations without actually putting them in harm’s way. War, or combat situation re-enactment with the help of a virtual reality simulation allows a soldier to learn how to react in appropriate manners befitting the circumstance. A virtually constructed simulation of a dangerous scenario or otherwise not only allows the soldiers to familiarize with the military life but also helps them adapt newer skills and techniques necessary for combat.

Military Applications of VR

The US Army demonstrates their proprietary Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS).
Source: Roadtovr.com.

However, that isn’t the only reason why VR and military training is such a winning combination. Above everything else, VR training for military protects the armed forces recruits from potential injury as well as the risk of death.

What’s more, the soldiers of today belong to a technological era where they’ve grown up playing video games, as such, teaching them via similar methods is a very effective. VR training simulations hold their interest and are also quite cost effective as compared to the traditional approaches of military training.

Existing VR Military Solutions

There are numerous virtual reality military solutions in regular use today. Moreover, with mixed reality at a technological forefront in the present times, there are newer, improved options introduced every day.

The military uses virtual reality in a variety of ways to tackle different situations and focus on different strengths. Some of the most common uses of VR in the military include the virtual boot camp, flight simulation, battlefield simulation, medic training on the battlefield, as well as vehicle simulation.

Though the primary use of virtual reality in the military remains for the preparation of combat, it is by no means limited to just the battlefield. VR is also used to treat PTSD in battle-weary veterans who find it difficult to adjust to normal life. Furthermore, it is also used to teach soldiers softer skills such as interaction in a war-zone with their international counterparts as well as communication with the local civilians.

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Here are a few examples of existing virtual reality military solutions:

Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer-Aviation (AVCATT-A)

A widely used VR application in the military is the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer-Aviation system. A combat simulation app, this simulates five military helicopters for training purposes. Unlike some of the other, necessary simulators out there, the AVCATT-A is not a regular flight trainer. It does not replicate the motion of flying for novice trainees.

It is instead used by skilled warfighters to advance their training and techniques. With the utilization of a head-mounted display (HMD), this application recreates a battlefield by generating realistic conditions in a virtual environment such as blowing dust, smoke, as well as changes in temperature, wind, and visibility.

Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS)


A system developed by a company called Intelligent Decisions is the Dismounted Soldier Training System or the DSTS. A VR app which uses wearable devices to teach and train soldiers in the latest teamwork techniques and troop tactics. Readily used in Fort Bragg, North Carolina as well as Fort Benning, Georgia, the system demonstrates an expected war situation to expose soldiers and new recruits to the real battlefield scenarios. A tactical training tool, the DSTS can create endlessly varying conditions for unlimited courses.

VR for Husky Mounted Detection System or HMDS

Much like transport vehicle training via flight and vehicle simulators, virtual reality is also used to teach soldiers and recruits on how to operate highly sophisticated machinery on ground. One such application is the use of VR for the handling of a highly complex detection system known as the Husky Mounted Detection System which can accurately detect nonmetallic and metallic explosives, as well as anti-tank mines and even pressure plates for bombs.

Developed for the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency by the U.S Army researchers at the Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, this VR simulation allows soldiers to become familiar with the operation and various functions of the HMDS well before they have a need to use it.

Virtual Reality in the Military - HMDS

VR simulation allows soldiers to become familiar with the operation and various functions of the HMDS. Source: ECBC Communications

Counterinsurgency Operational Planning Tool

The primary purpose of numerous training facilities around the world using VR simulation tools is to familiarize soldiers with possible situations out in the field. More specifically counterinsurgency. The Counterinsurgency Operational Planning Tool is a virtual reality application developed specifically to teach recruits how to navigate the turbulent landscapes of a conflict zone, anticipate confrontation from the insurgents and what to expect from them as well as operative in an efficient manner.

Apart from the above mentioned VR solutions in use by the military, virtual reality is also being used to simulate medical transport from one airfield to another to hone the emergency and critical care skills of military medics, physicians, and nurses. Joining ranks with the army and the air force, the navy has also recently begun using virtual training programs which work by combining the VR software and gaming technology in creating multiple missions simultaneously for naval forces to plan their attacks against.

How Can Appeal-VR Help?

The field of mixed reality is very vast indeed. With endless possibilities, virtual and augmented reality may be used to benefit industries and scenarios completely untouched by technology. These are transformative times that we live in, and everyone who can must take advantage of the latest tech available.

If you find yourself in a position to consider opting for a virtual reality application for the progression purposes, do not hesitate to contact us at AppReal-VR.

Pioneers in virtual reality app and game development, AppReal-VR is a company headed by the most experienced of individuals. AppReal-VR is home to over 200 extremely proficient professionals who excel in their particular niches. From game development across different gaming engines, cross-platform mobile app development and integrated solutions, augmented and virtual reality conception and development to highly intricate 3D designs, AppReal-VR does it all.

Dial a call or send us an email, let’s not delay. Begin working on your dream project, today.

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