US soldier of the future to be fielded with IVAS Integrated Visual Augmentation System headset
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What formerly belonged to the realm of science fiction has become reality for U.S. soldiers, with advances enabling them to fight and win with next-generation technology. Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center will help distribute one of these advances to soldiers across the Army and in the field, a mixed-reality headset called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS, in partnership with Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier. Debralee Lutgen, US Army, reports.
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A soldier from 3rd Platoon, Blackhorse Company, 2-3 Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, wears upgraded Integrated Visual Augmentation System goggles while pulling security during a movement-to-contact urban raid exercise on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., August 24, 2022 (Picture source: U.S. Army/Spc. Chandler Coats)
The IVAS is designed for dismounted close-combat force soldiers to integrate key technology systems into one device enhancing situational awareness, lethality, survivability, maneuverability and other warfighter capabilities, to include synchronization with soldiers in armored vehicles and helicopters. IVAS provides soldiers a field of view nearly twice as wide as those offered by current systems. It is capable of navigation and passive target interrogation, which allows users to identify targets without being seen by opposing forces.
Currently, thousands of IVAS systems are on the ground in RIA-JMTC’s staging facility, in preparation for fielding. The Army anticipates procuring up to 121,500 units for close-combat forces over the coming years. The RIA-JMTC IVAS team is on track to begin deliveries to units in the fall of 2023. “That gives us time to receive everything, dress-right-dress,” said Sunny Koshal, branch chief, Program Management IVAS, RIA-JMTC. “It gives us time to get good accountability. It gives us time to pack and ship each item that needs to go because every item has to go as a lot, not as an individual item.”
Besides their partnership with IVAS, RIA-JMTC and PEO Soldier have built a strong relationship through their work on other programs, including a four-year partnership with PM Lethality for weapon cleaning kits. At one time, the warehouse held more than $20 million worth of kits awaiting fielding. The IVAS is delivered in multiple packages, so RIA-JMTC employees will need time to package each kit with the system, batteries and any other required components prior to shipping to soldiers all over the world.
This fight-rehearse-train system will not only assist soldiers on the battlefield but also improve their training opportunities. The goggles allow Soldiers to plan a mission virtually, without concern for available space, in addition to providing real-time mapping and augmented reality capabilities. Soldiers can train for missions and rehearse operations at the point of need.
The mixed-reality headsets allow soldiers to see through smoke and around corners, use holographic imagery, thermal and low-light sensors to see in the dark, and display 3D terrain maps and a compass projected into their field of vision. They provide tools to better conduct land navigation, battlefield tracking and movement through urban buildings and open terrain.
The IVAS will be the single most advanced fighting goggle available anywhere in the world. Its capabilities result from the tireless, integrated efforts of the Army and industry. The partnership between RIA-JMTC and PEO Soldier will help ensure these systems get to our soldiers as soon as they are ready.