A realistic computer war game developed at Farnborough is being tested by soldiers to see if it will help them train for real combat situations.

The Qinetiq scientists started with one of the best war games on the market and got permission to adapt it, tinkering with it to make it more realistic.

In the virtual reality game, the e-soldier does not get lots of lives. When he is shot, he dies. And his platoon cannot run up a hill with heavy packs on their backs. Every bit of additional weight slows them down.

This is said to help officers learn how to co-ordinate different units in the field.

A Qinetiq spokesman said that the game was a serious training tool and that the soldiers felt that it helped them enormously, augmenting their training in the field.