Royal Navy Adopts Advanced Virtual Reality Simulator for Warship Training

Royal Navy Adopts Advanced Virtual Reality Simulator for Warship Training
The Royal Navy’s frigate Argyll, the oldest ship in the fleet, sits pierside at DSEI in London, England.
(Credit: David B. Larter/Defense News)

Virtual Reality Reshapes Royal Navy Warship Training

In a significant development at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), Royal Navy officers are undergoing training using an advanced simulator that immerses them in the virtual environment of a ship’s bridge.

Participants enrolled in the initial Warfare Officer’s Foundation Course are being equipped with the skills to operate and navigate vessels through the utilization of cutting-edge virtual reality technology.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Raeburn, the head of navigation training at BRNC, emphasized the upgrade, stating, “Previously, we relied on a simulator that was approximately 20 years old. It lacked the fidelity, navigation systems, and radar capabilities we have now. With the introduction of these new simulators, our training process is more streamlined, producing officers who are better prepared for success.”

Warship virtual reality simulator transforming Royal Navy training (Credit: YouTube/Forces News)

The state-of-the-art simulators, named HMS Beagle and HMS Adventure, have the ability to replicate a diverse range of vessels. Personnel from both the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and the Royal Navy are leveraging this innovative technology to enhance their proficiency across various skills.

Controlled by a computer operator, the imagery displayed on screens and headsets within the simulator can be dynamically altered to simulate different scenarios.

Sub Lieutenant Lucy Sylvester, sharing her experience with the virtual reality training, noted, “[It’s] a bit weird, actually, because it’s a bit like a video game in a way, but like a really cool high-tech video game. Similar to a real warship, you can’t zoom in like in a game; you have to use the binoculars on the Quartermaster’s chair to identify vessels. I think if we didn’t have a simulator as good as this, I’d definitely have doubts going onto a real bridge. Having this background knowledge and foundation is crucial for building confidence in the next phase of my training.”

In an effort to enhance training capabilities, the Royal Navy has substantially increased the number of simulators deployed across various establishments.

For those embarking on their careers at Britannia Royal Naval College, the incorporation of virtual reality training marks a pivotal step towards comprehending the maritime environment while mastering the use of sophisticated technology. This initiative underscores the commitment to providing naval officers with the most advanced and effective training tools for their professional development.

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