June, 9

    Army green lights an advanced version of its ‘mixed reality’ goggle

    Featured in:

    The Army is moving ahead with an advanced variant of its mixed reality goggle aimed at transforming situational awareness and more for the dismounted soldier.

    The service announced today that it had awarded a “task order” to Microsoft to develop the 1.2 variant of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System. The mixed reality goggle is based on the Microsoft HoloLens.

    Earlier versions of the augmented reality device, in development since 2018, will begin fielding to both operational and training units this year. Those are the 1.0 and 1.1 variants, as Army Times previously reported. The specific units to receive those devices have not yet been publicly identified by the Army.

    READ MORE: F-15EX tests added missile capabilities

    The “do-it-all” mixed reality goggle brings the situational awareness and systems approach more traditionally available only to platforms, such as fighter pilots or tank crew commanders, but for the individual dismounted soldier networked with a squad and larger units.

    And the device has been tested in combination with existing platforms such as Army helicopters and ground vehicles, allowing soldiers to communicate with the crews and virtually “see” outside of the platform and pass data among their unit and the vehicle’s crew.

    The Army is receiving 10,000 units total, half of the 1.0 and half of the 1.1. That incremental fielding will begin in September, according to Program Executive Office-Soldier spokesman David Patterson. Previous budget details covered an initial purchase of a total of 40,000 units.

    READ MORE: New F-35 engine deliveries suspended amid ongoing investigation

    “To date, the Army has conducted over 30 Soldier test events and more than 100 technical sub-tests with more than 1,000 Soldiers contributing nearly 100,000 hours of user feedback for IVAS,” according to an Army release. “These tests validated the system’s continued progress while providing areas for focused improvements.”

    In a separate release Tuesday, officials noted that “thousands of IVAS systems are on ground in [Rock Island, Ill. – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center’s], in preparation for fielding. The Army anticipates procuring up to 121,500 units for close-combat forces over the coming years.”

    Army Sgt. Jared Row and Spc. Jordan Deblasi, assigned to 82nd Airborne 3rd Brigade Combat Team, observe area of operations during Project Convergence (PC22) at Camp Talega on Camp Pendleton, California on Oct. 12 2022. (Spc. Lessitte Canales/Army)

    The IVAS 1.0 version provides baseline capabilities, which include navigation and rapid target acquisition with weapons sight camera linkage.

    The 1.1 version adds an improved low-light sensor, and the 1.2 version will use a new form factor and reduce the profile of the heads-up display and distribute counterweight on the helmet-mounted device for better use and comfort, according to the release.

    Army Times previously reported further details of the version differences, such as a cable in versions 1.0 and 1.1 runs down the front of the user and connects to batteries will be moved to the rear of the helmet off the user’s chest and shoulder. The 1.2 version will also be slimmer and lighter.

    The entire IVAS 1.0 system, excluding the radio, is about 3.4 pounds. Of that, 2.4 pounds is on the soldier’s head.

    For version 1.2, developers seek to cut the total weight to 2.85 pounds or less, the same or better than the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular, officials said.

    The enhanced mixed reality goggle is an advanced night vision goggle fielded in limited quantities to close combat forces in recent years that has shown vast improvement in night vision quality and improved marksmanship with its rapid target acquisition technology. The target acquisition tech was also developed at PEO Soldier and Night Vision Labs, both at Fort Belvoir, Va.

    The incremental fielding is an approach that officials say will allow the service to push cutting-edge technology, and new structural designs while allowing soldiers to use the early versions as the Army advances the gear with new features and capabilities.

    That cutting-edge tech has proved somewhat challenging. In an exclusive interview with Army Times in October, PEO Soldier commander Brig. Gen. Christopher Schneider said that the analog night vision the organization developed over nearly 70 years is reaching its technological limits.

    New ways of fusing data with the night vision picture and applying advanced computing capabilities needed to process and deliver information to the user are necessary, he said.

    Soldiers assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, help each other up a hill on Oct. 14, 2022, during Project Convergence 22 (PC22) experimentation at Camp Talega, California. (Pvt. Nolan Brewer/Army)

    That work did cause some delays for earlier-scheduled releases of the equipment in a program that is estimated to cost an anticipated $22 billion over the long term.

    The delays triggered a Department of Defense Inspector General audit of the IVAS program in 2022 that directed officials to seek more soldier input.

    Exact fielding dates for the 1.2 version have not yet been announced, though officials have planned for fiscal year 2025.

    Delivery orders for IVAS 1.2 production systems will be placed after IVAS 1.2 qualification and operational testing, according to the release.

    Find us on

    Latest articles

    - Advertisement - spot_imgspot_img

    Related articles

    F/A-18 Super Hornets: Boeing Secures $200M Deal To Sustain...

    The US Navy has awarded Boeing a contract worth $200 million to ensure the continuous operation of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet production line. 

    MAYHEM In Kyiv! US ‘Speeds-Up’ Deployment Of Gepard Anti-Drone...

    Amid continuing Russian onslaught on Kyiv, the US Army has awarded a Florida-based company a slightly over $118 million deal to provide the Ukrainian military with more Gepard self-propelled 35mm anti-aircraft weapons.

    US Air Force’s Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Drone Did Not Terminate...

    AI simulation test being conducted by the US Air Force (USAF) resulted in a drone killing its own operator for ‘over interference’ while it was executing its missions.

    STAR WARS! Russia-Ukraine Conflict Is World’s 1st Commercial Space...

    The Russia-Ukraine war is the most significant space-related development since 2022, given the wide-ranging use of space-based assets by both the warring sides.

    ‘Monster Power’! Eurofighter Typhoons Can Now ‘Jam The Jammers’

    The British Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon fleet has inched closer to acquiring the powerful European Common Radar Architecture (ECRA) Mk.2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars.

    Italy reveals plans for converting Gulfstream jets

    The Italian Air Force plans to convert two Gulfstream jets into electronic attack Compass Call variants, with an option for a third.