A soldier wearing VR headset and holding a gun

7 Powerful Uses For VR In The Military

Military outfits around the world are looking for ways to better train and equip their soldiers. One of the most exciting new technologies it’s experimenting with is virtual reality (VR).

This technology simulates real-world scenarios, training armed force personnel more effectively. Keep reading to get some creative uses for VR in the armed forces.

What are the uses for VR in the military?

The military uses VR to simulate realistic scenarios and practice complex procedures before carrying out the mission. The technology also helps treat PTSD sufferers and is a valuable tool for recruitment.

1. Simulate real-world scenarios

VR creates realistic simulations of on-the-ground combat scenarios or other dangerous situations. Soldiers can practice their skills without putting themselves or other command members at risk.

A U.S army soldier in uniform using virtual reality

The military has long used simulations to train personnel in various combat techniques. Virtual reality elevates these simulations to a whole new level. Soldiers can hone their reflexes and develop offensive and defensive strategies more quickly than traditional training methods.

Mixed reality training environments combine physical objects with virtual elements. This approach allows soldiers to experience immersive simulations of real-world scenarios.

Simulation is also proving extremely useful for police officer training. Learn more about the uses for VR in law enforcement here.

2. Rehearse complex procedures

VR helps rehearse complex procedures like aircraft maintenance or defusing explosives without the attached risk. Covert operations into enemy territory can be rehearsed, allowing special forces to familiarize themselves with streets, natural formations, and building layouts.

3. Medical help

Virtual reality technology is more than just useful for training soldiers. It can also be used for medical research purposes. Harvard Medical School has developed a VR system to help diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries.

Sensors and facial recognition software measure cognitive performance as users interact with virtual objects or scenes. It allows specialists to monitor changes in behavior caused by neurological conditions such as PTSD.

4. Recruitment

The military recruitment process is challenging due to the number of people needed and the geographical area to cover. VR has made this exercise more efficient.

Potential recruits can learn what life is like as a soldier before committing. They can participate in experiences like riding in a tank or jumping from a parachute, all from their own home.

VR can reach many more people than traditional job fairs and recruitment drives. They also help weed out unsuitable candidates in the early stages.

Potential candidates from remote areas can take part in initial interviews remotely. This tech encourages more people to apply and makes for a more efficient recruiting process. 

Tip: Also check out our article on the best uses for VR in recruitment.

5. Technical training

The use of VR is greatly assisting support personnel in sharing knowledge collaboratively. In vehicle maintenance, CAD and VR combine to allow practical training and knowledge-sharing among teams in different locations. 

6. Advanced flight simulation

Traditional flight simulators offer realistic and effective training for pilots. However, they are more useful when combined with a virtual scenario. It exposes trainees to the battlefield or landscape they’ll be flying in.  

7. Situational awareness

Virtual reality can enhance situational awareness by simulating various environmental conditions. Weather patterns and enemy troop movements, so soldiers know what to expect when they finally enter a battle zone.

Benefits of virtual reality in the military

  • Real-life training without the associated risks.
  • Training is available 24/7 for soldiers.
  • Reduced cost of recruitment and training.
  • Better solutions for helping PTSD patients.
Military personnel in training using VR devices

What Is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulated environment that can be experienced through different hardware devices. It immerses users in a virtual world where they can interact with 3D objects, settings, and characters. The user wears a device such as goggles which blocks out the physical world around them and transports them into the simulated digital environment.

Disadvantages of VR in the military

There are also some significant drawbacks to consider before investing in this technology.

  • Cost: The initial investment of VR headsets and the associated software is costly. There is also ongoing maintenance, upgrades, and content creation to consider.  
  • Durability issues: While some relatively affordable consumer VR solutions are available on the market today, these aren’t manufactured to withstand some training environments.
  • Lack of realism: A major drawback associated with virtual reality for military training is its lack of realism compared to real-world environments.
An army commander using virtual reality to help make strategic decisions

Summing up

Virtual reality has become an integral part of modern warfare. It provides an immersive training platform that allows soldiers to prepare effectively and safely for their deployments. The technology also reduces costs associated with traditional methods of instruction, such as live drills or field exercises.

As technology advances, expect to see new uses for this powerful tool. Augmented reality will also have its place in combat training. Trainees can experience digital threats and scenarios in a real-world environment. 

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to find out how virtual reality is being used in the education sector.

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