April 1 (UPI) — The Army has awarded Microsoft a contract to manufacture the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, an augmented reality headset for use on the battlefield.
Earlier this week the Army announced that it has awarded a fixed-price production agreement to manufacture the system, which is intended to offer a digital display to access information without taking eyes off the battlefield.
“The IVAS aggregates multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the Soldier to Fight, Rehearse, and Train using a single platform,” the Army’s press release said. “The suite of capabilities leverages existing high-resolution night, thermal, and Soldier-borne sensors integrated into a unified Heads Up Display to provide the improved situational awareness, target engagement, and informed decision-making necessary to achieve overmatch against current and future adversaries.”
Neither the Army nor Microsoft released a dollar amount in their respective statements, but the Washington Post and CNBC both reported the deal could be worth up to $21billion dollars.
The device has been under development since 2018.
Soldiers participated in field tests and demonstrations in October 2020 in anticipation of a 2021 rollout of the device.
According to Microsoft, this week’s deal means the company will work with the Army on production of the system “as it moves from rapid prototyping to production and rapid fielding.”
In February 2019 more than 100 Microsoft workers signed an open letter protesting a nearly $480 million contract to develop the IVAS headsets.
“We appreciate the partnership with the U.S. Army, and are thankful for their continued trust in transitioning IVAS from rapid prototyping to rapid fielding,” said a statement from Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman posted to the company’s website Wednesday. “We look forward to building on this successful partnership with the men and women of the U.S. Army Close Combat Force.”