The Army has delayed fielding and operational testing of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a militarized version of a Microsoft augmented reality headset, according to an announcement today from program executive office soldier.
“This decision allows the Army and Industry team to continue to enhance the IVAS technology platform,” the announcement stated. “The Army intends to continue developing and fielding this revolutionary, first-of-its-kind technology in” fiscal year 2022.
Microsoft won a $21.9 billion contract in March for IVAS, which is designed to enhance training and give soldiers more information in the battlefield.
That award was supposed to begin rapid fielding of IVAS, which Microsoft had adapted for military use through a $479 million other transaction agreement, a flexible contract that allows for rapid prototyping. OTAs are designed to accelerate the development process for new systems, and the Army has used them for for many of its priority modernization programs.
The Army had planned to equip a unit with IVAS by the end of last month, but first unit equipped has been delayed to September 2022, according to a new timeline included in today’s announcement. An initial operational test is scheduled for May.
Last month, the Army completed an integration test with the Bradley fighting vehicle and electronic warfare testing with the IVAS, according to the timeline. The service held a “user jury” in July on the criteria to begin operational testing.
The Senate Armed Services Committee expressed concern in its version of the FY-22 defense authorization bill that the Army planned to field IVAS before system development was complete. Even as the committee voted to add $1.4 billion to the service’s procurement budget, it cut $270 million from IVAS procurement funding.