The Royal Navy is embracing Virtual Reality to train sailors of tomorrow in cutting-edge new navigation simulators.Sailors will don headsets to take them into a naval ‘metaverse’ immersing them in key – and sometimes dangerous – manoeuvres, all from the safety of a naval base.
The VR headsets will be just one facet of new state-of-the-art replica ship’s bridges, with software capable of recreating the entire fleet, harbours and waters around the globe, and challenging weather conditions by day and night.
HMS Collingwood in Fareham, home of warfare training, Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, spiritual home of naval officers, and the home of the Submarine Service in Faslane will all receive the new trainers.
The investment is part of the modernisation of Royal Navy training by Project Selborne – a 12-year programme overseen by Capita to update and deliver a raft of training across many naval disciplines and branches.
The Navy’s existing simulators have trained thousands of navigators, officers of the watch and bridge teams for two decades.
“Nothing beats practical experience and our Fleet Navigators and Specialist Navigators will continue to be assessed at Sea on the Navigation Training Ship HMS Severn but the new simulators should markedly increase the preparedness of the students,” he explained.
“As the suite of simulation will also be increased at Dartmouth and Faslane this will allow cohesive training on the same software – before we have had to rely on disparate software systems with no commonality of training.”
Although initially the simulators will operate independently, in the future they will link up allowing students across the three sites to train together simultaneously.
“A number of naval academies world-wide are today heavily using our simulator systems for education and training purposes,” said Andreas Jagtøyen, Executive Vice President of Digital Ocean, Kongsberg Digital.
“The Royal Navy contract is a recognition of our technology and will further strengthen our position within the naval simulator training domain.”
The first students are due to use the simulators in September.
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