US Army Awards Microsoft $22 Billion Contract for Augmented Vision Goggles

By Thomas Price Thursday, April 1, 2021

With technological advancements in augmented and virtual reality headsets, the scope of practical applications has grown significantly over time. These practical applications have now extended to the United States military as the US Army recently awarded a $22 billion contract to tech company Microsoft. The contract will see the tech company create augmented vision goggles for the US Army that will help troops gain an advantage on the increasingly urban and dark battlefields. The new headsets are an expansion on an earlier initiative between the company and the Army that began in 2018.

Microsoft Square in Los Angeles, California.

Details of the Contract Between Microsoft and the Army

The basics of the agreement will see Microsoft manufacture and distribute augmented vision headsets to over 120,000 troops in the Army Close Combat Force. The contract will take place over five years time with the possibility to be extended another five years once it has elapsed. The tech company will receive $21.88 billion for the work they produce and will base these headsets on their current HoloLens 2 model.

The HoloLens 2 is the second iteration of augmented vision headsets from Microsoft and represents a shift away from consumer applications to practical ones for the company. While the headset is still capable of creating virtual video game landscapes, the company instead has been pushing for its use in medical and construction businesses. These efforts by the company have paid off with the new business contract they have landed with the Army.

Microsoft will be adapting its HoloLens 2 headsets in order to create the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS). The goggles will help troops receive world-class night vision alongside situational awareness capabilities to better inform and prepare them for their situation or mission. Other features for the goggles will include thermal vision, Soldier-borne sensors, and augmented vision training environments.

Other Business Details

Though the recent contract between Microsoft and the US Army is new, collaborations between the business and the US government have been well-documented. Microsoft is a major defense contractor for the US, with the Pentagon awarding the business a $10 billion contract for cloud computing services in the last few months.

After news of the newest business the company was doing with the Army, Microsoft’s stock rose. Shares are up nearly 2% since the close of the stock market on March 31. Stock prices of Microsoft now sit comfortably above $235 per share — an all-time high for the company.

When commenting on the contract with Microsoft, the Army said in a statement, “The partnership between the Army and Microsoft illustrates areas that the Department of Defense and industry can work together towards achieving modernization priorities in the interest of national security.”

In a separate statement made by Microsoft on the same contract with the Army, the company said, “We appreciate the partnership with the U.S. Army, and are thankful for their continued trust in transitioning IVAS from rapid prototyping to rapid fielding. We look forward to building on this successful partnership with the men and women of the U.S. Army Close Combat Force.”

About the Author

Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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