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The Pentagon Is Looking At VR To Train Soldiers For Nuclear War


Training combat forces engaged in ‘battlefield nuclear’ warfare using VR technology.

According to a recent solicitation posted by the United States Department of Defense, the executive branch department is seeking additional information pertaining to VR technology that could be used to train US forces for potential nuclear combat. 

The Pentagon Is Looking At VR To Train Soldiers For Nuclear War 1
DTRA scientists in the Foxhole program // Image Credit: Stacy Smenos, Dugway Proving Ground

The synopsis, available to view on the Federal Business Opportunities website, reads as follows: 

This SSN seeks information on existing solutions for virtual training and testing platforms for DoD combat forces operating in a battlefield nuclear warfare (BNW) environment, or performing radiological threat objects find and interdict operations. Leveraging AR/VR capabilities will increase the ability to train in relevant situations in a reduced cost environment. AR/VR capabilities will not replace field training requirements but will enable their execution and training iterations. Battlefield scenarios at all levels are of interest (large force movement down to individual movement). 

Purpose is to test warfighter scenarios and decision-making to provide users realistic outcomes to support training and course-of-action selection when faced with radiological/nuclear threats. Additionally, the solution may be leveraged for planning training scenarios and equipment testing events.  Radiological/nuclear considerations may include everything from point radiation sources, area contamination, and nuclear weapon detonation…

The Pentagon Is Looking At VR To Train Soldiers For Nuclear War 2
HoloLens 2 in the field. / Image Credit: US Army

This solicitation for potential VR training solutions is just the latest in a series of XR-related pursuits by the United States military. In November of 2018, the U.S. Army signed a controversial contract with Microsoft that would introduce 100,000 modified HoloLens headsets to the battlefield. Despite heavy criticism from disgruntled Microsoft employees frustrated over the use of HoloLens tech for combat purposes, the company has pushed forward with the partnership, citing their commitment towards supporting organizations “dedicated towards the defense of democratic values.”

Last month the United States Airforce got in on the immersive action as well, introducing VR lectures to the classroom and offering Airmen a more effective means of studying various airfield hazards. No doubt the United States military sees an immense amount of potential in XR technology.

Featured Image Credit: United States Army

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