Navy life at the touch of a button

The Navy is using 360-degree virtual reality (VR) technology to bring its people, ships and submarines to communities around Australia.

CAPTION: Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Chris Smith tests a Defence Force Recruiting virtual reality headset at Russell Offices in Canberra. Story by Petty Officer Jake Badior. Photo by Leading Seaman Tara Morrison.

The initiative aims to showcase the Navy to Australians who may not otherwise get an opportunity to visit the Navy’s busy ships, submarines and helicopters – enabling them to make more informed decisions about career pathways.

Slipping on a headset, people can listen to Navy officers and sailors talk about navy life and get a glimpse of what life is really like on board an Anzac-class frigate or a Collins-class submarine.

The VR kits enable people to meet the crew, tour the equipment and learn about the operations conducted by the Navy in its ships and submarines.

Director Navy Recruiting Retention and Transitions Captain Roger Fonhof said the new technology had enormous potential for recruiting.

“We know from experience that inviting young Australians on board our ships and submarines is a really powerful recruiting tool,” he said.

“Virtual reality allows us to take the fleet with us in a backpack, bringing immersive Navy experiences to more people, greatly extending the reach of our recruiting efforts.”

Captain Fonhof said there was no longer a barrier to taking ships and submarines to landlocked cities and towns across Australia – places like Birdsville, Bourke and Alice Springs.

“We will reach people everywhere – including those who have had no prior exposure to Navy,” he said.

“They’ll be able to explore different compartments and speak to officers and sailors in different departments, and hopefully be inspired to learn more about the unbelievable opportunities Navy can offer.”

The project is a Navy initiative funded through the Defence Force Recruiting STEM Grant Funding Scheme which aims to inspire young Australians to study STEM subjects and consider STEM careers.

Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Chris Smith said this was an important initiative to connect with Australian society.

“This technology gives people a real and meaningful insight into the Navy and the important work we do,” he said.

“Virtually connecting with our people and touring Navy’s platforms gives Australians a unique chance to experience the opportunities that no other career can offer.”


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