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Since 2018 Microsoft has been developing a version of the HoloLens 2 specifically for the US military. Called Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), the device replaced the Army’s own Heads-Up Display 3.0 effort to develop a sophisticated situational awareness tool soldiers can use to view key tactical information before their eyes.
Now Bloomberg reports the project is being threatened by budget cuts under the proposed House draft fiscal 2021 Pentagon spending measure.
House Appropriations Defense subcommittee proposed cutting $235.5m from the program, around 1/4 of its $906 million budget request.
The Army was planning to buy 40,219 IVAS headsets, but the full funding request has been marked “ahead of need.”
Ultimately the army hopes to buy 108,251 of the headsets by FY2021.
The headsets, which are initially designed to offer training opportunities to soldiers, allowing them to run through many repetitions of combat scenarios, such as clearing urban areas and engaging enemy forces, without having to leave home station and travel to training facilities, have been praised by military officials.
They have also found other uses, with the headset’s thermal scanners being used to screen recruits for coronavirus infection.
The appropriation bill is being considered on the 14th of July, at which point we should know the extent of the cuts to the project.