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US Army: IVAS problems fixed since DOT&E findings

US lawmakers have sliced procurement dollars from the army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) programme, and a newly released Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) report backs up some of their concerns about potential operational roadblocks. However, the service told Janes that most of the identified faults either had been addressed or will be fixed before the militarised heads-up display is fielded.

Each January, the Pentagon’s DOT&E releases a report detailing testing activities from the previous year. In the most recent report, the office unveils findings from soldier touchpoint 2 that occurred in October and November 2019. During that event, soldiers used a non-militarised, non-ruggedised version of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 augmented reality (AR) system at Fort Pickett, Virginia. DOT&E cited several problems with this capability set 2 prototype, including with the GPS to imagery sensors.

“We agree with DOT&E test report and welcome the feedback, constant collaboration and transparency in the programme,” Lieutenant Colonel Brad Winn, the Soldier Lethality Cross-Functional Team’s IVAS lead, wrote in a 26 January statement to Janes .

“Nothing took us by surprise. Negative feedback on some capabilities was expected, because we used a commercial HoloLens device that was not yet ruggedized,” he later added. “The focus of CS2 [capability set 2] was the integration phase of the programme, and the integration activities informed the approach to capability sets 3 and 4.”

More specifically, DOT&E reported that soldiers using the capability set 2 prototype sometimes experienced problems with commercial GPS accuracy, which lead to inaccurate position location information. Then, at night, “poor low light and thermal sensor performance prevented some operational navigation activities”.

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division use the latest IVAS prototype during a training exercise in October 2020. Lawmakers have cut programme funds and DOT&E has cited problems with the previous prototype version. (US Army )

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