Soldiers and Marines have been testing a new heads-up display system that one day would enhance their ability to overcome adversaries in conditions of limited visibility. The testing of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) has been ongoing at Fort Pickett, Va., since Oct. 18.
IVAS combines an array of technologies that essentially incorporates augmented reality and other capabilities in a display that restores the edge in lethality that had been eroded as enemies gained access to night-vision gear and other better equipment. It is being developed by the Army Futures Command, and incorporates Microsoft’s HoloLens system.
“Overmatch has always been defined in terms of two things. Our lethality and our protection must exceed the lethality and protection of our adversaries,” said Brig. Gen. David Hodne, the Army’s Chief of Infantry. “In an environment where we share the night, the folks who can move faster, decide faster and think faster are going to be the ones who have the advantage on today and tomorrow’s battlefield.”
During this most recent series of tests, which took place at Pickett, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and a Marine contingent took part in company-size exercises while using IVAS. The development teams sought their input about the system’s efficacy, not wanting to field an expensive system that warfighters have no interest in using.
“Our real desire is to let soldiers design it, and then our engineers build what they design,” said Brig. Gen. Tony Potts, director of PEO Soldier.
The response has been promising so far.
“If you can use a smart phone, you can use IVAS,” said Army Staff Sgt. Kaleb Kester. “Why haven’t we always been doing it this way? I hate getting issued things I don’t even want or don’t need or can’t really use. This is the way it should always be.”