After a few technical difficulties and delays, some soldiers in operational and training units will finally see the Army’s new “mixed reality” goggle in their hands in 2023.
The nearly $22 billion program to put the situational awareness of a fighter pilot on the lowest level grunt, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, is headed to troops.
The device merges night vision, augmented reality tools for training and missions, weapons site wireless linkage and target acquisition in one piece of kit.
Working off the base unit of the Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality goggle, the Army has spent the past three years tinkering with advanced technology to get a field-worthy piece of gear to do all of the high-tech work officials believe future combat will need for even the dismounted soldier.
The Army will deliver 5,000 IVAS 1.0 and another 5,000 IVAS 1.1 versions to troops in undisclosed operational and training units this coming year.
That’s a delay from their initial fielding planned for late 2021 and a subsequent deadline of September 2022. Delays were needed, officials said, to work out new ways to approach night vision quality while also having the advanced mixed reality features crucial to the goggle’s success.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.