In the beginning, it was about building new, highly advanced training systems. The United States Air Force was the first to start using the Visually Coupled Airborne Systems Simulator, or VCASS – a flight simulator of sorts – back in 1982. Thirty years later, in 2012, the U. S. military announced its first completely immersive virtual reality training system, called the Dismounted Soldier Training System.
The advantages of VR training systems are multifold. They produce a realistic environment for soldiers and other military personnel to hone their skills, particularly when it comes to arms training and learning how and when to shoot.
In addition to that, virtual reality provides this training at a relatively low cost, since all that is really required is for the soldier to be outfitted with an appropriate VR headset. The safety factor is important as well, because virtual reality minimizes the risk of injury and even death during the training process.
VR systems that are widely used in military training include the Virtual Battlespace 3, a special software developed by a gaming company (Bohemia Interactive, which is responsible for several best-selling games, including ARMA), as well as the Live, Virtual, Constructive – Integrated Architecture (LVC-IA) that incorporates several training systems at once for a more integrated practice field.
It is important to emphasize here that, as of yet, military training is used as a supplement to real life training as is still not – or maybe never will be – the sole method of military training.
There are special military programs whose purpose is to help in the development of virtual reality systems. The Advanced Soldier Sensor Information and Technology has the task of producing special sensors that will collect data from the battlefields and improve the awareness of soldiers on the ground.