The US Army has finally approved the potential acquisition of 5,000 Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) goggles.
The approval comes after a delay of more than a year in developing and procuring the system due to technical issues.
Last year, the service revealed that the fielding of the IVAS goggles had to be postponed due to a serious issue with the device’s wider “field of view.”
The equipment reportedly loses resolution when its viewing field is widened for peripheral vision.
However, a recent report by Bloomberg noted that Microsoft could soon begin delivering the goggles to the army after “encouraging results” in field trials.
The US assistant secretary of the army for acquisitions, Douglas Bush, has cleared the service to begin receiving the system.
“We did a good test and will learn from it,” he said. “The Army remains confident that the program will succeed.”
The initial order, placed in March 2021, had a total value of $373 million.
A customized version of Microsoft’s HoloLens goggles, the IVAS goggles are designed to “transform how soldiers see the battlefield” by overcoming the limitations of human vision.
Military commanders can project crucial battlefield information onto the inside of the goggles, heightening a soldier’s situational awareness, even in low-light environments.
Although it was one of the US Army’s most-hyped programs, the development and procurement of the IVAS has not been smooth sailing.
Earlier this year, Congress withheld nearly $350 million earmarked for the system pending the completion of testing and evaluation.
A report by the US Department of Defense Inspector General asserted that the army might be wasting billions of dollars developing the IVAS goggles.
“Procuring IVAS without attaining user acceptance could result in wasting up to $21.88 billion in taxpayer funds to field a system that soldiers may not want to use, or use as intended,” the report noted.