Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (Damen), Thales Nederland, and the maritime innovation cluster Extended Reality (ER) have developed a virtual reality (VR) programme for the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Called Intro-TD-OPV experience, the VR programme has been developed for technical students of the Royal Navy Technical Training to familiarise with naval ships virtually.

The VR programme was commissioned last week.

The maritime innovation cluster ER is operated by the Simulation Center Maritime (SimCenMar) navy personnel. The centre supports and conducts experiments covering almost all ER possibilities.

The functional design and VR technology mean that the features of the Holland-class patrol vessel HNLMS Holland can be easily learnt.

Students can be educated about the location and functionality of the different systems on board.

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To make the process interesting, it is supported by gaming techniques and narratives.

The use of VR technology, along with game technology and gamification, is expected to help the Royal Navy attract the technical target group.

Damen said in a statement: “After all, the defence sector in general, and the Royal Navy in particular, nowadays need all the tools to recruit and retain suitable personnel.”

For the successful fulfilment of the VR project, Damen has jointly worked with students from Media Designer course at Scalda in Vlissingen.

Over ten trainees have so far been involved in Damen’s VR and augmented reality department.

Damen Shipyards Group earlier announced the contract signing for the new supply ship, HNLMS Den Helder.

The ship construction programme will see the Defence Material Organization (DMO) serve as the main contractor and Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) as project supervisor.

The company expects work on the ship to complete in the second quarter of 2024.