Microsoft Wins Contract To Supply US Army With AR Headsets

Microsoft wins $22bn contract to make augmented reality headsets for US military

System will allow soldiers to increase awareness of surroundings and spot targets

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
@graemekmassie
Thursday 01 April 2021 23:32
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Microsoft has won a deal worth nearly $22bn to supply the US military with augmented reality headsets.

The company’s head-mounted HoloLens technology was originally designed for the video game and entertainment industries.

The Pentagon says that the Integrated Visual Augmentation System allows soldiers to increase awareness of their surroundings and to spot targets and dangers.

The AR headsets let the user see virtual imagery superimposed over the actual world before them, and they can be controlled with hand movements or voice commands.

Microsoft officials have said that the system could integrate thermal night vision and facial recognition, provide real-time analytics on battlefields, and create “digital twins” of buildings for hostage rescues.

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Army officials say that the technology was tested at Fort Pickett in Virginia last year.

And they say that the system could help give its troops an advantage “on battlefields that are increasingly urban, congested, dark and unpredictable.”

Troops first began testing the Microsoft system in a $480m deal in 2018.

Now it has signed a $21.88bn contract that will see Microsoft kit out more than 120,000 soldiers in the Army Close Combat Force.

In 2019 a group of Microsoft workers demanded that the company cancelled its first deal, arguing it would turn battlefields into video games.

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