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US Army awards Microsoft USD21.9 billion IVAS contract

US Army soldiers will begin receiving the new Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) later this year, and to prepare for the fielding the service has awarded Microsoft a USD21.9 billion production contract.

On 31 March, the service announced it was moving the company’s militarised HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system from a rapid prototyping effort into production and rapid fielding. The goal is still to have the first unit equipped with the capability sometime between July and September.

In a separate email to Janes, the service confirmed the contract award value and said the multibillion-dollar deal spans 10 years and includes a five-year base period and a five-year option.

“The IVAS aggregates multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the soldier to fight, rehearse, and train using a single platform,” the army said in a statement. “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.”

The contract award comes after lawmakers sliced USD235 million from the technology’s procurement budget in fiscal year 2021 citing a variety of concerns.

“The IVAS programme is pursuing an aggressive fielding schedule to a large population of close combat forces, resulting in a significant low-rate initial production procurement for an end item that has not been operationally tested using production representative units, or its militarised form factor, as is planned for soldier touchpoint 4,” appropriators wrote.

“While the technology represents a potential leap-ahead in capability, it is essential that an appropriate amount of operational testing, including use by soldiers in realistic combat conditions with production representative units, inform the army’s decision to move to large-scale procurement,” they added.

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division use the latest IVAS prototype during a training exercise in October 2020. The US Army has awarded Microsoft with a production contract.   (US Army )

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