Virtual Reality in Military

Virtual reality has been adopted by the military – this includes all three services (army, navy and air force) – where it is used for training purposes. This is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings where they have to learn how to react in an appropriate manner.

A virtual reality simulation enables them to do so but without the risk of death or a serious injury. They can re-enact a particular scenario, for example engagement with an enemy in an environment in which they experience this but without the real world risks. This has proven to be safer and less costly than traditional training methods.

Military uses of virtual reality:


  •  Flight simulation
  •  Battlefield simulation
  •  Medic training (battlefield)
  •  Vehicle simulation
  •  Virtual boot camp

Virtual reality is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers suffering from battlefield trauma and other psychological conditions can learn how to deal with their symptoms in a ‘safe’ environment. The idea is for them to be exposed to the triggers for their condition which they gradually adjust to. This has the effect of decreasing their symptoms and enabling them to cope to new or unexpected situations.

VR equipment and military:

Virtual reality training is conducted using head mounted displays (HMD) with an inbuilt tracking system and data gloves to enable interaction within the virtual environment.

Find out more about individual uses of virtual reality by the different services, e.g. virtual reality navy training in the separate virtual reality and the military section.

This section discusses the various military applications of virtual reality and the ramifications from using this form of technology. The military may not be an obvious candidate for virtual reality but it has been adopted by all branches – army, navy and air force.

What the military stress is that virtual reality is designed to be used as an additional aid and will not re place real life training.

What is apparent is that virtual environments are ideal set ups for military training in that they enable the participants, i.e. soldiers, to experience a particular situation within a controlled area. For example, a battlefield scenario in which they can interact with events but without any personal danger to themselves.

The main advantages of this are time and cost: military training is prohibitively expensive especially airborne training so it is more cost-effective to use flight simulators than actual aircraft. Plus it is possible to introduce an element of danger into these scenarios but without causing actual physical harm to the trainees.

Another use is combat visualisation in which soldiers and other related personnel are given virtual reality glasses to wear which create a 3D depth of illusion. The results of this can be shared amongst large numbers of personnel.

This section discusses all aspects of how virtual reality is used by military, from training through to combat situations. It is arranged as follows:

 Virtual reality war

 Virtual reality and the Army

 Virtual reality and the Navy

 Virtual reality and the Air force

 Virtual reality army training

 Virtual reality army exercises

 Virtual reality air force training

 Virtual reality navy training

 Virtual reality combat training

 Virtual reality combat simulation

 Virtual reality military weapons

 Virtual reality military history