Mixed Reality (MR) allows a user to concurrently exist in real and simulated worlds, with synthetic objects appearing alongside and interacting with real objects. For example, a virtual tank could appear on the real terrain, motion could produce virtual dust clouds, and the tank could be destroyed by either real or virtual detonations. This is considered an extension of augmented reality, where a level of immersion comparable to virtual reality is achieved in a live environment.
UK MOD and Close Air Solutions see considerable potential in mixed reality to transform the operational training landscape. Hyper Real Immersion seeks to use mixed reality to change the current training ethos and mentality, and to capitalise on the inherent benefits of both live and synthetic training environments
The use of multiple air effects and mass of multi-battery, mixed calibre ordnance, will be achievable by mixing live fires with those available in MR. The traditional live targets can now be augmented with realistic synthetic targets manoeuvring in the correct manner under camouflage and much more.
There are a wide variety of use cases which MR technology can be applied to; some examples are highlighted below. However, the list is rapidly expanding beyond the JTAC use case - the initial focus of the Capability Proving phase.
Ground Based Air Defence
Landing Signals Officer
Joint fires operations are inherently challenging, and frequently dangerous. Training conducted in peacetime, with the associated peacetime risk appetite, is frequently limited, unrepresentative, and of extremely limited value.
HRI will enable a significant reduction in training expenditure by replacing lives assets with virtual assets, combined with constructive blue and red forces, and achieve this in a manner that improves training complexity and effectiveness.
Most militaries employ a safe system of training, the result is a lack of Operationally credible scenarios being conducted day to day. HRI will enable Operational levels of risk to be trained and debriefed.
HRI will provide fully Contested, Degraded and Operationally relevant training. HRI order of battle is completely user extensible; users can create their own platforms, weapons, even radar systems (including beam/pulse/scan patterns).
Simulation is becoming an increasingly important technology to ensure that the UK military is trained and maintained at readiness. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality are useful for procedural training, however, it is emerging technology such as Mixed Reality that can have the greatest impact on operational preparedness - it is the latter that Project Hyper Real Immersion seeks to evidence.
Mixed Reality will allow commanders to exercise troops in the live environment with all the benefits of COTS simulation and all the challenges of operating in the real world.