Revamping Training: AFSOC Leverages Advanced Extended Reality Tech

by | Oct 6, 2023

Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is leading a transformative journey to revolutionize training and enhance readiness through the use of extended reality (XR) technology. The goal is to prepare Air Commandos for strategic competition by embracing virtual, mixed, and augmented reality to reshape training.

XR technology, which includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, can manipulate our perception of reality and create realistic simulations of complex scenarios, missions, and environments. Recognizing the potential of these technologies, AFSOC aims to leverage them to the fullest extent.

The initial focus of XR implementation in AFSOC is on providing academic training for aircrew support and mission support personnel. This ensures that each Air Commando receives the necessary training to excel in their roles. AFSOC’s XR Training Framework operates on a crawl, walk, run strategy, gradually incorporating XR technology into operational units to maximize impact.

To integrate XR technology into operational units, AFSOC is actively seeking collaborative partnerships with other major commands to leverage expertise and resources. The ultimate goal is to replicate any battlespace via XR technology at the home station, enabling Air Commandos to engage in repetitive readiness training anytime, anywhere.

To facilitate the adoption of XR technology across the command, AFSOC has established an XR cross-functional team responsible for creating a comprehensive XR training framework. This team will work towards incorporating virtual reality into all Flying Training Units responsible for training AFSOC aircrew. Initiatives like the Virtual Hangar will enhance maintenance workforce training using virtual reality.

The pinnacle of AFSOC’s XR Training Framework envisions the use of augmented reality for aircrew and special tactics teams. Augmented reality overlays virtual elements onto the real world, providing real-time information and enhancing situational awareness. In dynamic and high-stakes environments, this technology will prove invaluable to Air Commandos.

AFSOC’s commitment to enhancing readiness and training through XR initiatives is unwavering. By embracing XR technology, Air Commandos can experience realistic simulations of battlespaces, effectively preparing them for the challenges of current and future operating environments. This practice is crucial as AFSOC gears up for strategic competition.

Looking ahead, AFSOC has plans for LOE 2, which includes small group XR testing sessions with the AC-130J Flying Training Unit (FTU) and the C-146 FTU. These testing sessions, scheduled for Summer 2024 and Fall 2024 respectively, will further refine and improve the XR training program, ensuring it meets AFSOC’s standards.

With the ongoing implementation of the XR Training Framework, AFSOC is poised to revolutionize its training methods. Air Commandos, armed with the ability to conduct repetitive readiness training anywhere, anytime, will be better prepared to face the challenges of strategic competition.

The adoption of XR technology not only enhances training but also contributes to the overall readiness of AFSOC. By providing a range of experiences through virtual, mixed, and augmented reality, the command ensures that Air Commandos are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles.

As AFSOC continues to explore the potential of XR, collaborative partnerships with other major commands will further enhance its capabilities. By leveraging expertise and resources, AFSOC remains at the forefront of training innovation, ensuring it maintains its competitive edge in an ever-evolving landscape.

In conclusion, AFSOC’s adoption of extended reality technology is revolutionizing the way Air Commandos are trained and prepared for strategic competition. By incorporating virtual, mixed, and augmented reality into their training methods, AFSOC is ensuring that Air Commandos are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. With ongoing initiatives and collaborative partnerships, AFSOC is poised to transform its training methods and maintain readiness for current and future operating environments. The future of training has arrived, and AFSOC is leading the charge.