The UK is set to begin virtual reality training platforms for its armed forces built on the same gaming engine as Fortnite.
Using the latest advances in gaming technology, the new platform aims to improve training for personnel by making it more realistic, intuitive and immersive, while lowering the costs.
SimCentric, a veteran-run software company, has been awarded £300,000 by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) to develop and trial the simulator. After initial successful trials with the Parachute Regiment and officers at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick, further tests with the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines will take place later this year.
Former British Army Air Corps Officer Tom Constable, now director of innovation at SimCentric, stated, "As a veteran and current Reservist, I’m proud to help train the armed forces of the future. I joined the British Army in 2006 and later served in Afghanistan. This gave me a passion for building technology that will reduce the risk to our armed forces and improve the quality of training, with the ultimate aim of saving lives."
A virtual simulator will be part of the armed forces wider training program, and will be used to support and enhance real-life training exercises.
Up to 30 personnel can use the simulator at one time and uses intuitive gesture control designed to match real-world battlefield actions. This is coupled with HD surround sound and highly realistic visuals to bring to life training scenarios in VR.
Rather than click a mouse while sitting at a desk, personnel will be able to hold a ‘gun’ and crouch and crawl when necessary, just as they would on a real-life exercise. They will be able to practice this virtual exercise as many times as needed before going into the field for real, preparing them more effectively for operational deployments.
"The MOD is committed to developing radical and innovative ways to combat the challenges our armed forces face today, and equip them for the threats of tomorrow," said Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence.
"This new simulator is just one way we are bringing training into the next generation, using technology drawn from the world of gaming to support our troops in training."