Air Force uses video games to train members for combat

The Air Force has partnered with a nonprofit national security company, MITRE, to host an esports tournament aimed at helping service members better prepare for complex combat situations. The tournament, called "Drone Guardians," requires teams of participants to defend a deployed airfield from enemy attacks while still maintaining the ability to launch aircraft missions. The game combines elements of first-person shooters, strategy, and puzzle games, forcing players to confront a wide range of attacks from various sources. Teams must work together to prioritize defense areas while keeping the airfield operational for combat missions.

The goal of the tournament is to gather data that could help the Air Force enhance the safety and supply of real-life airbases, ultimately saving lives. MITRE believes that military logistics networks can be vulnerable to attacks, even without adversary intervention, and the game aims to test which logistics decisions will best enable mission success.

This is not the first time the military has utilized video games for training purposes. In the past, the Army developed a Super Nintendo game in 1993 to train soldiers for marksmanship. Additionally, the Army partnered with Raytheon to create a virtual reality combat simulator capable of tracking a soldier's whole-body movements.

The MITRE esports tournaments will take place at three different locations: Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, MITRE headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and the MITRE regional office in San Antonio, Texas. The Shaw Air Force Base tournament will be held on September 22-23, followed by the Virginia event on October 13-14, and the Texas event on October 20-21.

Overall, the partnership between the Air Force and MITRE aims to better understand mission logistics choices and prioritization while under attack. By using video games as a training tool, the military hopes to gather valuable data and improve the safety and effectiveness of its forces.


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