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Microsoft: U.S. Army to use HoloLens technology in high-tech headsets for soldiers

The Army plans to start equipping soldiers with the headsets in September, and leaders say the devices will fundamentally change how they operate and what they can do.

“Soldiers will be able to rehearse and train in more realistic scenarios using augmented reality to prepare themselves for what they are walking into,” says Master Sgt. Marc Krugh, a senior enlisted advisor who’s worked on the project since its inception.

“Inevitably, IVAS is going to save lives,” Krugh says. “That’s our main focus – bringing our men and women in arms back home.”

Under the new contract, which could be worth up to $21.88 billion, Microsoft will initially produce more than 120,000 headsets for soldiers at a Silicon Valley manufacturing facility. The five-year agreement can be extended for another five years. The devices will first be used by soldiers on foot, and the Army is also conducting experiments with using IVAS in military vehicles so soldiers can see what’s around them before stepping outside.

IVAS is being developed under an agreement known as an Other Transaction Authority, which gives the Army more flexibility to rapidly develop and test new technology in collaboration with non-traditional defense contractors. The arrangement enabled IVAS to be developed in less than three years, much faster than a traditional project of its type.