The US Pentagon is creating its own metaverse

The US defense technology companies have jumped on the metaverse bandwagon, but what they're creating will be nothing like Meta's virtual reality.

The pentagone metaverse

Two fighter pilots conducted a high-altitude proto-metaverse experiment on May 10.

They wore special AR headsets to connect to a system that overlay a ghostly, shimmering image of a refueling aircraft flying alongside them in the sky a few thousand feet above the California desert in a pair of Berkut 540 planes.

The virtual tanker was then refueled by one of the pilots while the other stood by and watched. Hello and welcome to the nascent military metaverse.

The metaverse craze isn't limited to Silicon Valley these days. Many defense startups, contractors, and financiers are increasingly talking about the metaverse, even though its definition and utility aren't always apparent, just as tech companies and corporations scramble to devise strategies for virtual worlds.

The fundamental technologies required for the metaverse — augmented and virtual reality, headmounted displays, 3D simulations, and artificial intelligence-powered virtual environments—are currently in use in the military industry.

The end result is less polished, adorable, and expansive than Mark Zuckerberg's virtual world concept, but that's part of the goal.

Even if it stutters in the civilian realm, the underlying technology has a strong chance of taking off.