Microsoft wins US$21.9 billion augmented reality headset contract with US military

Microsoft wins US$21.9 billion augmented reality headset contract with US military.
Photo credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has announced it has won a deal to sell the US Army augmented reality headsets based on its HoloLens product and backed by Azure cloud computing services.

The contract could be worth up to US$21.88 billion (NZ$31.34 billion at the time of publishing) over 10 years, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters.

Over the past two years, Microsoft has worked with the US Army on the prototyping phase of what is called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The company said Wednesday (local time) that the army had moved into the production phase of the project.

In a blog post, Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said the headsets are designed to deliver "enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios".

The headsets will be manufactured in the US, a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters.

Microsoft was also in line to win the US$10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract with the Pentagon, but the contract remains in dispute in a lawsuit filed by Amazon. Pentagon officials told US lawmakers in February that the Defense Department may jettison the contract if the dispute lingers in the courts.

After Microsoft announced a US$480 million contract in 2018 to supply prototypes to the US Army, at least 94 workers petitioned the company to cancel the deal and stop developing "any and all weapons technologies", Reuters reported at the time.

A worker involved in that petition declined to comment this week.