An augmented reality (AR) environment is being tested as a training tool for sailors and marines who must train and remain proficient at sea. The tactically reconfigurable artificial combat enhanced reality (TRACER) system consists of a virtual reality (VR) headset, a backpack processor, a simulated weapon designed to deliver realistic recoil, and a software package that creates different simulation scenarios for security personnel to experience. TRACER leverages software developed by Magic Leap Horizons as part of the US Army's Augmented Reality Dismounted Soldier Training (ARDST) project.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) teamed up with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, and industry partners Magic Leap Horizons and Haptech Inc. to develop the new AR training environment.

Patrick Mead, TRACER project lead said, "Ultimately, TRACER provides sailors with dynamic, engaging, and less predictable training scenarios that would be too costly or time-consuming to create in the real world." The system is built mostly from commercial, off-the-shelf products.

TRACER was recently tested at the Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) in North Carolina. The mission at CENSECFOR is to train soldiers in US Navy security force fundamentals, code of conduct, anti-terrorism, and expeditionary warfare training.

"We can integrate this AR virtual training environment into our existing curriculum, and it allow us to be very reconfigurable," Cmdr. Kim Littel, CENSECFOR director of training innovation, said. "We can go in and we can change the scenarios, or we can change the opposition forces and the threat that they pose."