Virtual Reality Creates a Foothold in the Battle Management System


The video game industry of the 1990s predicted that consumers will be regularly exposed to virtual reality by 1994. Although this prediction may have been overly optimistic, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of this developing technology over the previous few years.

The Battle Management System (BMS) of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division is one example of a top-tier military program that makes use of VR technology despite its more prevalent association with consumer goods in the modern day.

Mike Weisman, who oversees metrology and augmented reality/virtual reality projects at BMS, said the company is always looking for new ways to innovate and incorporate cutting-edge technologies into its core offerings.

With a focus on innovation, BMS is always considering new technologies that could eventually become part of its core offerings. Opportunities for growth, stability, and predictability have expanded thanks to the rapid commercialization of headsets in the most recent consumer market.

VR Battle Management System

There are three main purposes for virtual reality (VR) currently in widespread use: engineering, training, and tactical.

Weisman and his crew travel to different locations, perform scans of the environments, and then use the collected data to create a digital twin, or virtual reproduction, of the destination.

The engineering industry makes use of this virtual reality (VR) app. As a result, the time it takes to go from having an idea to having the product in customers’ hands is cut down significantly.

“Using virtual reality, individuals may create an immersive, three-dimensional image of a design by putting on a headset, walking around it, and imagining how it would actually fit into the area. Weismanclaims that as a result, “our designer is able to develop things faster and more accurately than before.”

The program sponsor saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the program to train operators as the team began integrating the program.

Weisman and his group created the 30-millimetre virtual gun trainer and sold it to satisfied clients. When using this tool, operators can perform a series of operations on the system in a single go, a capability that was previously unavailable.

A full one-to-one scaling at a cheaper cost is now possible, the author writes. Even if a pallet is completely filled, they can still go around it. The only way for them to see what’s under the furniture is to go on their knees and stoop. Muscle memory, as Weisman calls it, allows them to remember where they put things. “They use it so often that it will feel as normal to them as their computer. Consistency is achieved by repeated action.

The virtual trainer is not intended to replace in-person training, but rather to provide supplemental assistance to users who could benefit from more time working with the system. The third area where this technology could be applied is in the realm of warfare.

VR Battle Management System

The crew decided to design a digital sand table rather than a physical one to facilitate post-mission analysis rather than having to reconstruct the entire model from scratch.

the virtual sand table makes it extremely easy for someone to understand what transpired in a digestible manner,” says Weisman. To illustrate how the system would perform in practice, the researchers incorporated the simulated sand table into the base camera system and the flow of boat and plane traffic over and around the Potomac River Test Range at Dahlgren.

To put it another way, “we have a framework on the backend where we can bring all this data in and present it simply together,” and “we have aggregate data sources coming in from many areas to show graphically.”

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The development part of BMS is crucial when it comes to conducting post-mission analysis. Since the information has timestamps, it may be combined with other data from the same period of time, providing greater versatility and insight after a mission has concluded.

A Dahlgren Division computer scientist and expert in the application’s backend development named Brandon Gipson commented, “BMS contains a lot of data,” whether the data originated from testing events, models, or semantics.

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According to the author, “putting that into VR extracts it in a way where it’s not just ones and zeroes,” allowing the user to visualize the actual flight path of a plane or drone during testing. A game-changing development, indeed.

Since the team has access to a wide variety of data input from BMS, it is able to see all of the information it has gathered throughout a scenario at once. Data is collected from sensors on the platform, as well as the actual wind direction, temperature, and visual tracks.

During a recent visit to the NSWC Dahlgren Division, Rick Quade, the Deputy for Test and Evaluation for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, got to try out the tactical sand table for himself. The majority of BMS’s virtual reality (VR) applications are still in the prototyping phase, but this is quickly changing.

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Weisman explained that the tactical application gave them a “beautiful workspace” to try out new ideas and see which ones were successful. As one of the developers put it, “The tactical application gives us a nice workspace to try out a lot of things.”

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