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US Army greenlights IVAS initial operational test and evaluation for mid-May

US Army soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division use an IVAS prototype during a trench-clearing exercise in October 2020 at Fort Pickett in Virginia. The system is poised to begin operational testing in May 2022. (US Army )

The US Army will begin operational testing with Microsoft's militarised HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system later in May, according to Doug Bush, the service's assistant secretary for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. This move follows a mid-2021 decision to delay the crucial event, and ultimately fielding, to solve hardware and software problems.

Bush told Janes during a 4 May interview that he decided to greenlight the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) after reviewing findings from the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) Soldier Touchpoint 5 event in March.

“We appear to have [made] progress on the technical areas that led us to delay the IOT&E,” he noted. “Generally, the feedback was positive, and it was good enough for me to authorise going into the operational test.”

During Soldier Touchpoint 4 around the April 2021 timeframe, the service discovered several problems with the device involving display clarity, IVAS Project Manager Colonel Troy Denomy told Janes in October 2021. Programme officials decided to postpone IOT&E from July 2021 to May 2022, while it worked with Microsoft on several fixes and then tested them out.

More specifically, these changes included shrinking the heads-up display's field-of-view from 80° down to 70°, fixing a moisture issue with a single component inside the display, and addressing several software ‘reliability and stability' issues, Col Denomy said at the time.

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