Use of VR technology and passive haptics for MANPADS training system
Johnson, Rolf Erik
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Man portable air defense systems (MANPADS) are point-defense weapons that typically form the penultimate layer of defense against aerial threats. Deployed at close ranges to the installation being defended, MANPADS operators get little reaction time to engage attacking aircraft. The situation becomes more complex in a multi-threat scenario such as an airfield under attack. Dealing with such situations requires high proficiency and the capability to make tactical decisions quickly. Live training opportunities allow few operators to fire during live exercises. Simulation training is effective, but customized high-fidelity immersive training facilities are limited. Moreover, low trainee throughput from such high-end facilities is an ongoing obstacle. The main focus of this thesis research is a feasibility study for building a low-cost MANPADS training solution that uses commercial off-the-shelf components. The developed prototype leverages a fully immersive virtual reality system with head-mounted display, game engine, and passive haptics. It provides MANPADS operators with alternative training opportunities in target acquisition, tactical decision making, and situational awareness in a multi-threat scenario, and has the potential of addressing the current training gap. This development experience will provide valuable insights that can be employed to design and create a new generation of low-cost training solutions in other domains as well.
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