The U.S. Army announced it has delayed the rollout of its augmented reality headsets, which it expected to be in use this fall, until September 2022.
The Army awarded Microsoft the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) headset contract in March, which is worth up to $21.88 billion. The headsets are based on Microsoft’s HoloLens technology and use Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.
The Army confirmed the delay in a press release, but said it “is fully committed to its partnership with Microsoft to advance specific technologies to meet operational requirements and maximize warfighter impact.”
The Army said the delay allows additional time for testing of the headsets and enhancing the IVAS technology platform – which aims to keep soldiers safer with night vision and situational awareness capabilities. In September, the Army conducted an “adversarial electronic warfare and cybersecurity test,” but it did not indicate if the results of the recent test caused the delay.
In a new timeline, the Army said it will conduct an operational test in May 2022 and plans to have the first unit equipped with the headsets in September 2022.
“I think IVAS is a good example of where we’re trying to go with acquisition as a whole,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in May. “That capability I think is going to transform how our soldiers operate. We’ve got some more work to do that I don’t want to over-promise where we’re at, but… we’re moving very, very quickly.”