The US Army receives the first batch of IVAS infantry augmented reality glasses from Microsoft, citing unexpectedly encouraging test results. US Assistant Secretary of State for Acquisition Douglas Bush has “cleared the Army to begin acceptance” of some of the 5,000 glasses, the official statement said.
Their delivery was delayed due to concerns about the usefulness of the device pending more thorough testing. After receiving them, the service adjusted the deployment plan to give the vendor time to correct deficiencies, and also sends some devices to divisions for training events.
The Army expects the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) based on Hololens 2 to provide ground forces with information support similar to that offered to fighter pilots by aircraft systems. This, in particular, is about target designation and night vision.
The Army plans to spend up to $21.9 billion on the project over ten years. The money will go to the glasses themselves, spare parts and support services. But the contract can be adjusted if the device does not give the expected efficiency. According to Bush, “the army remains confident that the program will be successful.” Microsoft does not comment on the contract.
The US military placed an initial order for 5,000 glasses worth $373 million in March 2021. The order was supposed to be the first of a potential 121,000 units in a decade, but the contract was put on hold at the end of the year to be finalized by IVAS based on audits.
The test reports will help Congress decide whether to approve the $424.2 million that the Army wants to spend on the program in the next fiscal year starting in October. The House and Senate Appropriation Commissions have proposed drastically reducing the army’s request pending results.