RAF Honington News


Personnel wear Virtual Reality headsets and use equipment. With computers and desk in background.
All images courtesy of Flight Lieutenant Browning.

The RAF Regiment Training Wing have now taken delivery of the Virtual Reality Dismounted Close Combat training system, provided through Project ASTRA.

Service personnel will now experiment with the system for the next 12-month period to see how it may benefit current training programs.  This is the next step in a journey that RAF Regiment Training Wing experienced through a Defence and Security Accelerator funded Defence Science and Technology Laboratory trial, that started back in March 2020.  Since then, the Wing has dramatically increased its understanding of the use and benefit of Virtual Reality within the Dismounted Close Combat training area.

"Here at the RAF Regiment Training Wing we are excited to continue development of the Virtual Reality Dismounted Close Combat training system alongside our industry partner.  What started as a Defence Science and Technology Laboratory supported experimentation to prove the concept is now able to continue thanks to ASTRA innovation funding.  Initially we will look at how it can increase pass rates through repetition and reinforcement of tactical training, which will complement current instruction methods and testing on exercise in the field.  Our future aspirations extend to the development of concepts, hardware and software, that will allow us to train RAF Regiment Gunners and Officers for scenarios that would be too complex, costly or dangerous to replicate in ‘real world’ training."

Wing Commander Antoniou
Officer Commanding RAF Regiment Training Wing

Personnel wear Virtual Reality headsets and use equipment.

Project READY GUNNER ONE will consist of trials that will look to enable Virtual Reality to compliment training through reinforcement of tactical instruction.  RAF Regiment Training Wing modernisation focusses on the components of Fighting Power integral to establishing the foundations of Air Force Protection Close Combat specialists.  The trials will record evaluations based on pass rates and overall ability after training with the Virtual Reality system and will include both student and instructor feedback.

Personnel wear Virtual Reality headsets and use equipment. Computers and desks in background.

The system from SimCentric uses the Unreal Engine SAF-TAC to deliver high fidelity visuals, along with essential simulation functions such as Exercise Control, Scenario Editor and detailed After-Action Review.

RAF Regiment Training Wing have been heavily supported by the Design Delivery Technology Team at the Central Training School, RAF Halton, who became aware of the SAF-TAC UK MOD Virtual Reality Trial while researching current uses of Virtual Reality in training.  They organised a demonstration of the system to RAF Regiment Training Wing personnel and have since continued to play an advisory role.

"It was important for us to support this project and help Training Wing fulfil its ambitions to exploit technology, further enhancing the training they provide.  The ASTRA initiative will see a significant change to the Live, Virtual and Constructive training blend and projects such as this are at the leading edge of that transition.  This has been an excellent opportunity for us to develop our understanding of integrating immersive technologies in to training, allowing us to advise other units that are looking to develop similar projects."

Flight Sergeant Davies
Design Delivery Technology Team

Personnel wear Virtual Reality headsets and use equipment.

"Understanding what Virtual Reality can bring into Dismounted Close Combat training has been looked at by many but is not yet widely practiced across Defence.  With funding from ASTRA, RAF Regiment Training Wing now have the chance to put the concept into practice, record the evidence of its enhancement into training and build on investment for the future."

Sergeant Minshal
RAF Regiment Training Wing

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