VR saves on military training costs

Fort Sill one of just a few installations across the country training soldiers to use the Stinger missile system-- but they're expensive. That's where virtual r
Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 6:57 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Fort Sill is one of just a few installations across the country training soldiers to use the Stinger missile system, but they’re expensive. That’s where virtual reality and simulation training come into play.

“Each missile, each Stinger missile is on average around eighty thousand dollars. These virtual trainers really help our students and these virtual trainers are also used out in the force as well,” Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Cameron said.

Powerful enough to destroy a jet and helicopters, they can travel almost three miles at just under a half mile per second, and have a ninety percent hit success rate. Used by the military for ground to air defense-- its versatility makes it a commonly equipped weapons system-- and Fort Sill trains almost two hundred soldiers on it each year.

“A max capacity class is about twenty four students, usually we round out about sixteen students per cycle. The current cycle has about sixteen students. Last academic year, we had about a hundred eighty-nine students come through the school house,” Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Cameron said.

According to Sergeant First Class Cameron, students launch tens of thousands of virtual Stinger missiles per academic school year. To give some idea of numbers, ten thousand missiles would cost eight hundred million dollars.

”It’s one of those things where it’s definitely saving us a lot of money. It’s definitely giving them a lot of practice and a lot of time on a system that they normally wouldn’t get until they got to their unit, which probably wouldn’t be the best time to be practicing, when you’re in the fight,” Sgt. 1st Class Michelle Cameron said.

With the development of simulations, like at-home VR headsets, warfare training for the soldier of the future could look more like the video games of today.

”It’s important due to the fact of the generation that’s coming up now. More of our soldiers, nowadays, know more about playstations, virtual reality, versus to us, we learned a little bit more of the hard way, and so having virtuality for them, it hits home for them,” Staff Sgt. Anthony Torres said.