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SOFIC 2020: USSOCOM eyeing army's new head-up display

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is monitoring emerging technologies and weapons under development by the Army’s Future Command and is interested in the new Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS).

James Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition czar, briefed reporters during this year’s virtual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (vSOFIC) about ongoing acquisition efforts inside the special forces community and that the command is eyeing the army’s effort to modify Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset.

“IVAS is going to be a game changer for USSOCOM [and] for our operators,” he said on 13 May. “The army’s applying more resources to that than we can afford, it’s almost my entire [research, development, test and evaluation] budget.”

US Army soldiers using their IVAS HUD, based on the Microsoft HoloLens, during a test event.

US Army soldiers using their IVAS HUD, based on the Microsoft HoloLens, during a test event.

Microsoft and the army are in the process of militarising the HoloLens 2 headset, in part, by linking the goggles to Nett Warrior and One World Terrain. One completed, troops could use the augmented reality (AR) device for a range of activities from simulated training events to mission planning and execution. Some potential headset capabilities include the ability to identify and catalogue individuals, translate foreign words, and navigate terrain. It is slated to be paired up with the fire-control system for the service’s Next Generation Squad Weapons.

Additionally, the service using IVAS prototypes to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Soldiers wearing the googles with sensors can detect a person’s temperature via the forehead or inner eye, with that temperature then registered in the operator’s see-through, head-up display.

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