Army awards Microsoft contract to develop new IVAS variant

By Evan Ochsner / January 5, 2023 at 12:04 PM

The Army has awarded Microsoft a contract to develop an upgraded version of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, the service announced Thursday.

A task order contract awarded by the service on Dec. 20 directs Microsoft to develop the 1.2 variant of IVAS. The directive is the latest step taken under a firm-fixed-price other transaction authority production agreement the Army awarded Microsoft in 2021, which could potentially be worth up to $21.9 billion.

The service said it intended under that initial contract to upgrade the system through an iterative design process.

Thursday’s announcement said the task order “will provide improvements based on completed test events.”

The Army says it has completed more than 30 soldier test events and received nearly 100,000 hours of soldier feedback on the system.

“These tests validated the system’s continued progress while identifying areas for focused improvements,” it said in the announcement.

The 1.2 variant of the system will feature a number of upgrades over the 1.1 variant, which itself was an improvement on the 1.0 version. The 1.2 variant will have a new form factor to address the physiological impacts identified during soldier testing and feature a lower profile heads-up display to better distribute the headset’s weight, the Army said.

Soldier testing uncovered significant comfortability problems with the headsets, including headaches and nausea in users.

The 1.2 variant will also feature software upgrades designed to improve reliability and reduce power demand, areas of improvement identified in soldier testing.

The service said Thursday it would begin incremental fielding of IVAS in September and would place delivery orders for IVAS 1.2 after further testing.