VIRTUAL WORLD: Troops will learn skills via virtual reality
THE British Army is to use virtual reality to prepare soldiers for war.
Troops will wear VR headsets and react to combat scenarios.
The technology sets a life-like scene for soldiers who can interact with often dangerous surroundings from the safety of a simulator.
The technology will be introduced at the Ministry of Defence's Andover base in Hampshire.
VR, which is already being employed by the US military, helps to cut the cost of training by reducing the need for expensive exercises, vehicles and instructors.
Despite its £40million price tag, US military bosses say controlling scenarios at the touch of a button has brought down costs significantly.
A US Army spokesman said: "One of the benefits of this technology is that it can be used anywhere, making it easier to conduct effective training in a shorter time frame and in multiple settings."
As well as combat training, soldiers can also learn medical skills and how to drive military vehicles using VR.
MoD chiefs are confident it will reduce the number of deaths which occur during training.
A worrying 96 personnel died during training or on exercises between the start of January 2000 and the end of February this year.
The British Army has already had success with VR, which it used in a recruitment drive last year.
Members of the public were given the chance to receive training, with headsets simulating the experience of driving a tank.
Applications to join the forces subsequently jumped 66%.