Army Training has put increased emphasis on virtual training over the past several years. From flight simulations to weapons training, virtual environments save valuable time and money for troops trying to get up-to-speed on the latest technologies and advancements while preparing for deployments. 

A new, first-ever fully immersive virtual simulation training for American soldiers, called the Dismounted Soldier Training System, will allow full-spectrum training in a virtual environment. Unlike other systems it is designed specifically for dismounted soldiers and small tactical units. Led by the Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation and developed by Intelligent Decisions, the system will rely on photorealistic graphics and technology which allows soldiers to interact with their physical environment, as well as one another.

Addressing the human element in combat situations, the simulation supports human expression; built in physics support the virtual scopes, sights and optics necessary for realistic training. Other highlights of the system include 360 degree sound, the ability to estimate and gauge the impact of injuries sustained, and a comprehensive After Action Review (AAR), which includes recordings of all relevant data obtained during the exercise.

The training is in continued development, culminating in a user assessment in January 2012. If the assessment is favorable the Army will begin fielding the system in March 2012. Test units will be provided to several military installations.

Today’s soldiers, growing up in the age of Xbox and Playstation have become used to advanced graphics and photorealistic images. Virtual environments capitalize on that innate appreciation and familiarization.

“If you look at it, 70 percent of all the kids in America have this type of technology in their bedrooms right now,” said Floyd West, director of strategic programs for Intelligent Decisions’ Orlando Division and program manager for Dismounted Soldier. “So who deserves it more than our troops who are out there risking their lives?” 

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