The first delivery of combat goggles by US tech giant has been approved by the military
US Army is now authorized to begin receiving new combat goggles from Microsoft. This moves forward with an agreement that was put on hold due to concerns about the device’s functionality.
The purchase will be the first under a contract that could be worth nearly $22 billion over 10 years if the goggles perform as intended and all of the Army’s options are exercised. The Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, Douglas Bush, approved acceptance of the first batch of goggles under a March 2021 order for 5,000 sets valued at $373 million, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
Due to the need for more thorough testing, initial delivery was delayed. This was because it was believed that IVAS goggles would not perform well. Based on preliminary testing, it is unlikely that the devices will be deployed immediately on battlefields.
The Army “adjusting its fielding plan to allow for time to correct deficiencies and also field to units that are focused on training activities,”Bloomberg quoted Jamal Beck, Army spokesperson as saying.
Microsoft publically markets its standard IVAS AR headsets (known as HoloLens) at a price base of $3,500. In 2018, the Pentagon signed a $480million deal with Microsoft to create a military-friendly version of these goggles. Three years later came a larger contract, which required Microsoft to provide 120,000 IVAS units to the Army.
This deal is worth more than $182,000 each. Microsoft will also provide support and spare parts.
The goggles project a hologram over a soldier’s field of vision in combat, giving troops more information about what they’re seeing – similar to heads-up displays used by pilots. Night vision is also possible with the IVAS.
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Some Microsoft employees protested the company’s initial IVAS deal with the Army in 2019, saying the military version would be used “to help people kill.”An estimated 1.2 million workers were employed by the company. open letterMicrosoft executives demanded that the contract is canceled. “Intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology,”According to the employees, the glasses would make fighting a fun experience. “simulated video game.”Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President, defended the Army Deal, and said, “The people who defend our country need and deserve our support.”