The military-grade combat goggles will deploy in two waves to earn feedback for designing future models
The US Army has received its initial batch of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2-based mixed reality (MR) combat headsets for additional testing, the Army Times reported on Monday.
Army staff will receive 5,000 units of version 1.0 of Microsoft’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), with a further 5,000 of v1.1 set for delivery next year, the Program Executive Office-Soldier Commanding General, Brig Gen Christopher Schneider, said in a statement.
The report added that military staff from fighter pilots to low-level infantry soldiers would receive the devices. Headsets will provide night and thermal vision, tactical edge computing, situational awareness, passive targeting, and Microsoft Azure cloud computing, becoming the most advanced single technology in military history.
Units in the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, including the Maneuver Center of Excellence, will receive the v1.0 batch of IVAS headsets.
Units operating garrison, field training, and combat deployments, including the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions as well as 75th Ranger Regiment, will firstly receive the v1.1 batch.
In a statement to the Army times, Schneider said v1.2 would develop parallel to the first two field tests and will likely include a low-light sensor and hardware redesign scheduled for the fiscal year 2025.
The two deployments will allow the US Army to redesign its third iteration of the headset device ahead of deployment in field missions, the report read.
Both versions were delayed twice after personnel cited performance concerns, pushing back deployment of the devices from September and late last year, respectively, army officials said at the time.
He continued stating, “We don’t want to rush IVAS to the field until it’s ready.”
The news comes after the US Army received its first batch of IVAS headsets in late August after successful field testing, according to the branch’s Assistant Secretary for Acquisition.
In December last year, the Army declared the device “not combat ready” due to concerns over moisture protection, heads-up display (HUD) calibration problems, and other field testing concerns.
Officials accepted the first order, worth $373 million in March 2021, just after lawmakers from the Senate Appropriations Committee threatened to cut back budgetary spending by up to $350 million.
The device had previously earned more than 80,000 hours of field testing, with Army staff stating they were “fully committed” to collaborating with Microsoft to finalise the project.