Pricey Microsoft combat goggles for the US Army fielding in 2025

The US Army lets Microsoft enhance soldiers in the battlefield using mixed reality training in IVAS.

Microsoft continues its augmentation plan for the US Army with the help of AI. The two entered an agreement to let the tech giant develop advanced mixed reality goggles designed for combat. It was reported in January when the US Congress denied the Army’s request of up to 6,900 headsets based on Microsoft HoloLens technology.

It didn’t faze the US Army though, which led to the budget for new headsets called Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems or IVAS. The Army wanted IVAS version 1.2 and this move awarded Microsoft $125 million to do it. As of January 2023, the US Army did more than 30 soldier test events and over 100 technical subtests, with more than 1,000 soldiers contributing almost 100,000 hours of IVAS feedback. The results showed progress but they’re still areas that required improvements.

So, what exactly is in this costly package? The IVAS headset has some elements akin to futuristic helmets in sci-fi films. 

First, there’s a heads-up display to show soldiers details like maps, friendly forces, and enemy positions. Next, a thermal camera is installed for thermal imaging in low-light conditions. The device sports a laser rangefinder to measure distances to targets. And lastly, a comm system to let soldiers stay in touch with each other and command HQs.

Image credit: Microsoft

The US Army plans to deploy the IVAS headsets on the field in 2025. 

This isn’t the first time modern tech got involved in military training. Back in December 2022, a video showed Chinese soldiers wearing similar devices and experiencing a virtual combat training world. But the perspective of the soldiers wasn’t shown. It was claimed as a “preparation” for the Taiwan war.


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