Military photo

In a 2014 exercise, People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) pilot cadets train using virtual reality (VR) headsets to providing 3D imagery, flatscreen monitors doubling as Heads Up Display (HUD), while also using civilian Saitek X52 video game joysticks. Given the poster with a JH-7 strike fighter in the background, the pilots could belong to a PLANAF maritime strike squadron. In addition to providing a cheaper, immediate step before stepping into an aircraft simulator, the 3D VR headsets allows for an augmented, integrated group training to improve interactions between the trainees and instructions. The PLANAF’s introduction of VR technology at such an early stage of pilot training is part of a wider Chinese trend in increasing accuracy and rigor in all stages of military training.

Next: Read about China’s new military radar, which a U.S. Navy fighter pilot called “bad news for us.”