Virtual Reality

United States Air Force

Virtual Reality application to reduce travel and equipment costs and improve overall employee retention.

United States Air Force

Our client tasked us with the objective of developing solutions that could reduce travel and equipment costs within the United States Air Force, while also improving employee retention. The goal was to dramatically reduce training and equipment costs for mobile weather station and broadband network station deployment.

SHIIFT developed a Virtual Reality (VR) technical training program for employees using an immersive and interactive simulated experience for working with parts and components on equipment. Our solution was developed through the use of a VR headset.

The Problem

SHIIFT was retained by the United States Air Force in order to reduce the high costs of training and to reduce the resources required in order to deploy and work with live weather control stations and broadband network stations. This also included accounting for employee retention and the loss of efficiency, thus our solution needed to improve employee retention and increase efficiency dramatically.

The client also needed to drastically reduce expenditures on travel and equipment costs that are typically incurred for employees to work with live equipment and operational assets. By creating a virtual experience, the need to transport equipment was greatly reduced while also enabling more employees to learn and practice their skills with simulated components and equipment.

The Solution

Our team designed a Virtual Reality (VR) program which simulated a digital twin of all components used in a mobile weather station and broadband network station. This accurate, to-scale virtual simulation of the equipment enabled employees and trainees to practice the technical skills and processes involved with erecting and repairing both types of equipment. The simulation contained over 80 components and provided employees with an extremely accurate and realistic ‘hands-on’ experience that was engaging and interactive for trainees and employees. Thus, trainees were able to quickly and efficiently hone their skills before working with live equipment, which improved efficiency and reduced mistakes.


SHIIFT created a fully synthetic environment that could be controlled for realistic parameters faced in the real world, including inclement weather or equipment malfunctions, which enhanced the quality of training. All data and statistics can be analyzed by trainers to provide accurate feedback and to improve learning outcomes for trainees. The solution also includes assessment functionality designed to test trainees in specific areas.

Assessment functionality was also included to test the trainees in several areas including:

    • Selecting the most appropriate location by choosing from 4 pre-determined locations
    • Assembling the TMQ in the correct order, connecting all the cables correctly
    • Using the laptop and BGAN in a separate area of the base to connect to the TMQ-53 via satellite
    • Using a video on the laptop display to connect to the TMQ systems

Development Engine

Our immersive VR solution for USAF was completed using the Unity game development engine. This development engine was ideal for the development of virtual assets and e-learning functionality.


The U.S. Air Force saved over $2,500,000 in the first 6 months of deployment, while increasing employee retention.

When was this completed?

The VR program was completed for the United States Air Force in March 2019. The client is now able to use the program to train current employees and new trainees.

How long did it take?

The project took 3 months to complete, from our initial consultation with the client to the finished product delivery. Our team maintained open and consistent communications throughout the progression of the project.

The real savings come from Airmen not being taken away from their missions.

Rob Thomas

Tech Sgt, 1st Weather Wing Systems and Training Officer, USAF


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