QinetiQ has received a multi-million pound contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to train British soldiers and pilots in virtual world battlefields.
Under the terms of the £33m contract, the company will enable UK Army commanders and air force pilots to train together in a virtual battlefield ahead of foreign deployments, The Telegraph reported.
The training will be carried out using a system fielded at the Air Battlespace Training Centre at The Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington in Lincolnshire, UK, over the next five years.
A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "Simulation and synthetic training is an extremely important part of training our modern armed forces and, although it will never fully replace live training, the ability to practise and train in highly realistic but safe environments is a vital, life-saving capability essential to effective mission preparation."
QinetiQ Training managing director Miles Adcock said: "Our training provides the RAF and army with a realistic representation of the operating environment they will face, which is critical to achieving mission success.
"It allows trainees across the UK to train together in the same mission, in real time, with our coalition partners across the globe.
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"We train the UK Armed Forces in the safe and effective employment of weapons systems available in an air-land battle, including artillery, mortars, attack helicopters, fixed wing and unmanned aircraft."
Capable of linking together aircraft simulators, ground forces’ control tents and individual troops, the QinetiQ system enables commanders in the simulated headquarters to co-ordinate airstrikes in real-time, with soldiers on the virtual battlefield calling in the jets that are being flown by pilots in simulators.
Specifically, the simulator allows the trainees to learn how to carry out complex procedures and potentially dangerous operations, without the risk of harm.
The training operation events can be recorded and reviewed in mass debriefs, which enable soldiers and pilots to see the events from a different perspective.
The simulator has already been used to train troops prior to deployment in Afghanistan.