Virtual reality brings battlefield training anywhere
By Sgt. Justin M. Boling, Defense Media Activity
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Marine leadership and key civilian leaders attended an Augmented Immersive Team Training demonstration at the Medal of Honor Golf Course, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Oct. 14, 2015.
The augmented immersive system brought the battlefield to the quiet golf course. The virtual battlefield is complete with aircraft and artillery to engage ground vehicles and personnel with no needs for concerns such as safety, resources or availability of ranges for realistic training.
“This offers infantrymen the same realistic training pilots have available in their advanced simulators,” said Dr. Peter Squire, the program officer with the Office of Naval Research. “It creates a 3-D virtual atmosphere laid over top of the reality. It brings the capability to provide live and needed training on demand.”
This is accomplished by highly advanced software running on commercial computers and using a Head Worn Display and mounted computer, which speaks to a tracking system The system also offers MK-19 automatic grenade launcher and Mortar tube simulators can also engage virtual targets in real time.
“A year ago I saw a demonstration, and I saw potential,” said Maj. George Flynn, the Infantry Officer Course Director. “It has been very beneficial to call for fire training.”
According to Flynn, during call for fires training in the past Marines have to “use their imagination” to simulate targets and the pressures of combat. This can fail to convey real stress during a time, which could mean the difference between life and death.
“(This technology) gives us more opportunities to train and can be conducted anytime anywhere regardless of weather, availability and with greater repetition,” Flynn said.
The system requires the training area to be mapped out to be affective. This quality of visual is dictated by the amount of information provided to the system. Vegetation and other obstacles can be added to mapping data providing more realistic behavior from virtual targets. Targets and their behavior can be manipulated via a tablet, which allows custom made training scenarios.
“I am here because I believe in this system,” Flynn said. “It was a struggle in the past to get training. Now we can us the system to fully replace elements or supplement live fire exercise.”
The office of Naval Research is passing on the system to be further improved and developed by Marine Corps Systems Command, who will partner with outside civilian technical industry to make improvements on the system before its possible integration.
“When you watch someone use the simulation and then have to remove the system to check reality, I know we were successful,” Squire said.