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Course correction: US Army renegotiating USD22 billion IVAS contract, eyeing path for different form factor

A US Army Specialist, assigned to 82nd Airborne, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, trains with the Integrated Visual Augmentation System as part of Project Convergence 2022 at Camp Talega in California, in October 2022. (US Army)

The US Army and Microsoft are renegotiating their multibillion-dollar Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) contract after soldiers continued to experience physical ailments while wearing the device during a recent operational test.

Assistant Secretary of the US Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Douglas Bush wants to field 10,000 initial units of the heads-up display while also working with the company to redesign the form factor, but this plan depends on both stakeholders agreeing to modify the existing deal.

Bush spoke to Janes on 4 November about the challenges and successes of militarising the HoloLens 2 heads-up display. He is spearheading a plan to address issues in the programme, which is designed to change how soldiers train and fight on the battlefield by providing them with a tool to conduct mixed-reality training, mission planning, a night-vision capability and more.

“We ran into a challenge, which is not uncommon, which is you have a commercial technology that's very good in a commercial setting but adapting it to military use and conditions is sometimes much harder than people think it's going to be – much harder,” Bush said. “Nobody gaming in their basement worries about light emissions. Nobody wears it for three hours very often … The risks of discomfort are different.”

“You're just in your basement playing a game, you're not in combat,” he added.

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