Trials are to begin for a new virtual reality training platform for the UK Armed Forces, built on the same gaming engine as Fortnite.
The new platform will use the latest advances in gaming innovation to improve training for personnel. It should make it more realistic, intuitive and immersive, while lowering the costs.
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) awarded SimCentric, a veteran-run software company, £300,000 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.
A virtual simulator will be part of the armed forces wider training programme. It will support and enhance real life training exercises.
The simulator can accommodate 30 personnel at once. It uses intuitive gesture control designed to match real actions on the battlefield. HD surround sound and highly realistic visuals bring to life training scenarios tailored for VR interaction.
Rather than click a mouse at a desk, personnel can hold a ‘gun’ and crouch and crawl when necessary. They can practice this virtual exercise as many times as needed before going into the actual field. This should prepare them more effectively for operational deployments.
Former British Army Air Corps Officer Tom Constable is now Director of Innovation at SimCentric:
"I joined the British Army in 2006 and later served in Afghanistan," he said. "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."
The MOD said it was always looking to innovate.
"This new simulator is just one way we are bringing training into the next generation," said Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence. "Using technology drawn from the world of gaming to support our troops in training."