We’ve all heard of VR training before, but this is something I’ve never imagined. UK troops are using an application developed for the iPad to learn how to handle a fire mission. The Royal School of Artillery in Wiltshire has its troops learning the same material in a much faster and more efficient way. They are hoping that smartphone and tablet technology will speed up training for the entire army.
Lance Bombardier Jason Markham from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery has already served in Afghanistan, and is back for more training. He told Newsbeat how it works:
I’d be at the HQ – the troops on the ground would call me for fire support and they’d give me the target location and a description of the target. … We’d use all of that information to come up with a solution.
He says it makes training more fun and more efficient than ever before:
This has been designed to let us practise, so that when we get out there into theatre we’re a lot slicker. … It makes it more fun instead of being sat in a classroom looking at a presentation being given information. … If you’re on a course you can take this back to the block and practise with it, even have little competitions with it.
Soldiers at the command post have to learn how to communicate with the devices to make sure the right artillery is being fired at the right time and at the right target.
Troops at the base in Wiltshire are using the app to sharpen their skills. Major Rich Gill is an army training officer who has had a hand in rolling out and implementing the new app. He said:
If we can use this sort of technology, we can probably shorten the amount of training and that is pretty key nowadays when people are so committed to operations in Afghanistan. … There’s so much they need to do before they go there and when they come back. … If we can use this to reduce the amount of training it’ll be fantastic.
Of course, the implementation of iPads into UK military training comes when the military is suffering from budget cuts. According to Major Gill, purchasing iPads saves money in other areas, such as the cost to print manuals and reference books.
A 3D app is also in development for army pilots who have to learn to distinguish other aircrafts in a split second as part of their training.