Last week, the Army accepted delivery of the first 20 prototypes of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System 1.2 variant. The milestone is the latest step in the process of getting the most advanced version of the situational awareness system in the hands of Soldiers.
Microsoft delivered the 20 prototypes to Project Manager Soldier Warrior, the program office within Program Executive Office Soldier responsible for overseeing the development of IVAS.
IVAS is a single platform that features an all-weather fighting goggle and a mixed reality heads-up display that integrates next-generation situational awareness tools and high-resolution simulations to provide Soldiers with improved mobility and lethality, during the day or at night. IVAS provides Soldiers with a single device to fight, rehearse and train.
“This is a really big deal for the program,” said Col. Anthony Gibbs, PM SWAR. “A little over a year ago we did an operational test with version 1.0 of the system. We learned a lot. We got a lot of good Soldier feedback. So last summer we came back and restructured the program. We took those lessons learned and all that Soldier feedback and in less than a year have what we now call version 1.2 of the system.”
Soldiers and squads will use IVAS to gain a fuller understanding of their operational environment. Its enhanced low-light and thermal sensors improve target identification. IVAS integrates with ground and air platform sensors, allowing Soldiers to see outside vehicles before dismounting into a hazardous situation. IVAS provides 3D mapping and navigation capabilities and can ingest data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
“[IVAS] complements what’s currently in the Army’s inventory while expanding close combat force capabilities by leveraging the digital architecture for shared awareness and computing at the edge,” said Lt. Col. Denny Dresch, Product Manager IVAS. “IVAS provides a first-person augmented reality perspective that enables the integrating of operational data such as routes and control measures into the person’s field of view.”
The system’s embedded training tool, the Squad Immersive Virtual Trainer, also provides Soldiers objective-based scenarios and battle drills through holographic and mixed-reality imagery, giving units the flexibility to train their squads with minimal resources.
IVAS 1.2 builds and improves on the capabilities of previous versions of IVAS, IVAS 1.0 and IVAS 1.1. Specifically, IVAS 1.2 incorporates reliability upgrades, features an improved low-light sensor and introduces a new form factor with a lower profile heads-up display with a distributed counterweight for improved user interface and comfort.
IVAS 1.2 also has the capability to attach to a combat helmet with a “hinged” device to allow Soldiers to raise and lower the display, similar to traditional night vision goggles.
IVAS 1.0 and IVAS 1.1 will primarily be issued to schoolhouses and operational units for use in training to support the Army’s campaign of learning. The close combat force will receive IVAS 1.2.
“Anybody who has had IVAS on, even the early versions, knows that this is a transformative capability and really has the potential to change the way that we fight,” said Gibbs. “This new version, 1.2, we think it’s really going to hit the mark in terms of what we need to put out there for our Soldiers to give them the situational awareness and the leap-ahead capability they need to stay ahead of our peers.”
The 20 prototypes will be featured at a user assessment in August, during which two squads of Soldiers will use IVAS 1.2 to measure the system’s performance and ensure engineering efforts are on schedule and meeting design objectives.