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US Army maintaining September IVAS fielding date, plotting production start

Soldiers from the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division used an IVAS prototype during soldier touchpoint 3 in October 2020 at Fort Pickett in Virginia. (US Army )

US Army soldiers will test out upgrades to Microsoft's militarised HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system in March to help the service determine if hardware and software fixes are adequate.The service said its revamped development plan is on track and soldiers may begin receiving the technology later in 2022.

In mid-2021 the army postponed plans to field its Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) after it discovered problems with the device that caused soldiers to experience a range of physical ailments, from headaches to nausea, and they were not able to complete essential combat tasks. As a result, the service has been working with Microsoft to improve the heads-up display clarity – reducing the field-of-view from 80º down to 70º – while also working to get rid of ‘bugs' that would ‘crash' the system, and fixing a humidity problem with a single component inside the display.

During this replanning period, the US Army has also increased the length of the Typhoon cable, a cord connecting the heads-up display to the puck (the computer soldiers wear on their chest), Project Manager Colonel Troy Denomy told Janes during a 15 February interview. This cable has been increased by 400 mm (15.7 in) – from a length of 680 (26.8 in) to 1080 mm (42.5 in) – which enables soldiers to better ‘route' the cord.

The army has conducted two “knowledge points” with redesigned IVAS components (not the entire system) and has begun receiving complete IVAS capability set (CS) 5 equipment, according to Col Denomy.

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