US Air Force to launch esports tournaments to train members for real-life combat

Who said Video Games lead you nowhere or are they nothing but a waste of time? Well, if you... Jason | 18. September 2023

Who said Video Games lead you nowhere or are they nothing but a waste of time? Well, if you also think so then you are about to get probably the biggest example of Video Games for real-world implementation. Yes, you heard it right. United States Airforce is planning to train its service members via video game esports tournaments to train them better for real-life combat.

US Airforce teamed up with MITRE to launch esports tournament

The United States Air Force introduced a partnership with MITRE, a nonprofit company that works for national security and has decided to launch an esports tournament dubbed as “MITRE GameX eSports Tournament”. It is based on the game “Drone Guardians”. This game is a perfect blend of a first-person shooter, strategy and puzzle elements as described by MITRE.

As the name suggests, Drone Guardians will be required to a team of five to defend an airbase and operate all the fighter’s aircraft missions simultaneously.

Interestingly, the threat can come from various directions, including land, sea, and space, creating a real-life combat scenario. Apart from making defensive strategies, players also have to make tough calls such as launching aircraft for attacks or backing down to ensure the safety of the air base.

The description on the MITRE website explains that teams need to make important decisions during their mission. They have to choose between getting aircraft ready to launch, protecting the air base, or planning a strategy to secure essential supplies for their mission.

Although it sounds to be a simple and straightforward task but requires an enormous effort and teamwork to protect your base. Protecting a base against advanced aircraft, such as the F-35(of course, virtual ones), requires a great deal of effort and teamwork. You can’t miss the loopholes in your coordination which can be exploited by the enemies.

The MITRE and Airforce have a greater purpose beyond mere coordination and management training. Interestingly, they intend to leverage the data collected from tournament results and outcomes to design a machine-learning algorithm that can establish a framework for real-life combat situations and their readiness. This approach will enable them to enhance their training and preparedness for various combat scenarios.

“Even without adversary intervention, military logistics networks can be brittle and chaotic while also having single points of failure, creating ripe opportunities for attacks,” said Eliahu Niewood, vice president, Air and Space Forces, MITRE

Schedule and locations

As per the reports, the MITRE esports tournament will be held across three different locations in the US. These locations are:

  • Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina – September 22-23.
  • MITRE headquarters in McLean, Virginia – October 13-14.
  • MITRE regional office in San Antonio, Texas – October 20-21.

Registration for the tournament has already commenced. People who are 18 years old or older can sign up for free either as individuals or teams by visiting this website. If you register as an individual, you will be assigned to a team. Additionally, the daily winners can also grab $1000 as a cash prize.

This initiative offers valuable insights into the future of military training programs and the potential video games have in improving them. Interestingly as per a report by the Washington Post, a discussion or you can say debate on esports was recently held at the Pentagon, a centre for security think tanks, to support this argument.

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