Virtual Reality In Military Simulations
Virtual Reality in military simulations was one
of the earliest uses of VR.
From early flight simulators built in 1920's to more modern instrument
flying simulator in the 1950's, developers have constantly battled
with representing a realistic environmental vision.
Before VR, video cameras were used to capture terrain around an
airport, and the resulting image was sent to a television monitor
placed in front of the pilot in the simulator. His movement of the
control stick and throttle produced corresponding movement of the
camera over the terrain board.
The next step used multiple monitors to simulate the entire field
of view from the airplane cockpit. This method is still in use for
transport aircraft simulators, giving 180 degrees horizontally and
60 degrees vertically.
For fighter aircraft simulators, the field of view must be at least
180 degrees horizontally and vertically. For these applications,
virtual reality has been able to expand the virtual images.
A cockpit is placed at the center of a domed room, and virtual
images projected onto the inside surface of the dome.
These types of simulators have proven to be very effective training
aids. A project called SIMNET has enabled electronic
connection of two or more simulators to produce a distributed simulation
Distributed simulations can be used not only for training, but
to develop and test new combat strategy and tactics. An IEEE data
protocol standard for distributed interactive simulations allows
the distributed simulation to include not only aircraft, but also
land-based vehicles and ships.
Following on from this DOME based simulation environment, the use
of head-mounted displays (HMDs) was introduced to decrease the cost
of wide field of view simulations.
Telepresence For Military Missions
The military employs telepresence in their operations to reduce
exposure to hazards and to increase stealth.
Many aspects of combat operations are very hazardous, and can become
even more dangerous if the combatant seeks to improve his performance
in skills such as firing weapons and reconnaissance. This is extremely
Smart weapons and remotely- piloted vehicles (RPVs) were developed
to address this problem. Some smart weapons are autonomous, while
others are remotely controlled after they are launched.
This allows the weapon controller to launch the weapon and immediately
seek cover, thus decreasing his exposure to return fire. The RPV
can be made smaller than a vehicle that would carry a man, thus
making it more difficult for the enemy to detect.
Military Information Enhancement
Current, reliable, accurate, easy to read information is invaluable
to those operating in a dynamic combat environment. In addition,
provision of this information must be done in a way that is not
distracting to the receiver.
The Head-up Display (HUD) optically combines critical information
(altitude, airspeed, heading) with an unobstructed view through
the forward windscreen of a fighter aircraft. This means:
The pilot never has to look down at his instruments.
When the HUD is coupled with the aircraft's radar
and other sensors, a synthetic image of an enemy aircraft can be
displayed on the HUD to show the pilot where that aircraft is, even
though the pilot may not be able to see the actual aircraft with
his unaided eyes.
This combination of real and virtual views of the outside world
can be extended to nighttime operations.
Using an infrared camera mounted in the nose of the aircraft,
an enhanced view of the terrain ahead of the aircraft can be projected
on the HUD.
This gives the pilot a 'daylight' window with both a real and an
enhanced view of the nighttime terrain and sky.
The pilot can choose to focus totally on the virtual information
and completely exclude the actual view and vice versa.
NEXT: Using VR In Travel
Back To Top