DOD wants to use virtual reality to train troops for nuclear threats

The Pentagon wants to use AR and VR to equip troops with the skills to be ready to fight in a nuclear war.
Scientists watch soldiers sample simulated leaking chemical weapons in an underground facility in order to get a better idea of both the bulky protective gear soldiers must wear as well as the dark, constrained environments they sometimes work in. (Photo by Stacy Smenos, Dugway Proving Ground)

The Pentagon wants to bring the defense of nuclear threats to (virtual) reality.

A notice seeking sources indicates the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s interest in adding virtual and augmented reality training to nuclear battlefield drills for soldiers. The training would not replace other types of training requirements, instead adding a new technical layer to nuclear readiness, according to the notice. The agency is looking for technical solutions and hardware assistance in bringing the training environment to warfighters.

The notice is similar to a recent development from the Army. The branch is pushing a program dubbed the “Synthetic Training Environment” that will enable multiple types of virtual training to equip service members with training in a range of global environments.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s envisioned solution is more targeted at replicating nuclear warfare and “radiological” threats. The solicitation is looking for coding language, hardware requirements and other specific information about systems that could be implemented.


The “[p]urpose 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,” the solicitation states.

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