The U.S. military is poised to enter the future battlefield with its brand new “battle goggles” as modern warfare becomes more technology-driven and foreign military powers integrate cutting-edge systems to enhance combat readiness.
After several technical glitches and delays, specific soldiers in operational and training units will finally receive the US Army’s new “mixed reality” glasses in 2023.
The mixed reality glasses are being developed under the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, or IVAS. The roughly $22 billion initiative will provide soldiers with situational awareness similar to that of fighter pilots.
Earlier this year, the EurAsian Times reported that Undersecretary for Acquisition Douglas Bush had “authorized the military to begin receiving” some of the 5,000 sets of glasses, spokesman Jamal Beck said in a statement. Until now, their distribution has been delayed due to concerns about the device’s performance due to the lack of more thorough testing.
Microsoft Corp’s cutting-edge combat goggles are being delivered to the US military after promising results in field testing. The device was designed with the specific requirements of close combat in mind, which include improving the vision of troops in war by expanding the field of view, improving depth perception and overcoming the limitations of human vision.
Mixed reality (MR) is a new technology that combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These head-mounted displays contain cameras that constantly map the wearer’s environment. In addition to combat use, these devices are becoming increasingly popular among the gaming community.
The device combines night vision, augmented reality tools for training and missions, wireless weapon connectivity and target acquisition in each of the goggles. The Army will provide 5,000 IVAS 1.0s and another 5,000 IVAS 1.1s to soldiers in unnamed operational and training units in the coming year.
The military has spent the past three years tinkering with cutting-edge technology, working on the base unit of Microsoft’s HoloLens virtual reality glasses to develop a field-ready piece of equipment to handle all the technological work that officials predict will be the battle of the future. even for a dismounted soldier.
Virtual and mixed reality is being used by advanced militaries around the world that are preparing for close combat and urban warfare. For example, a recent video on social media suggests that Chinese soldiers are using virtual reality to train for combat in populated areas, as EurAsian Times noted.
Previous reports have also indicated that China is using virtual reality and simulation training for urban combat. A PLAN logistics support unit under Northern Theater Command used virtual reality to conduct a “Fuel Support War Exercise” in March 2021.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has started using virtual reality (VR) technology in training because it allows officers and soldiers to gain better combat skills more effectively,” according to a report in the state-run Global Times newspaper.
It becomes all the more urgent for the US infantry to adopt mixed reality combat goggles as tensions continue to rise in the Indo-Pacific region, with the possibility of a US-China clash being low but never zero.
With China’s aggressive maneuvers against Taiwan, which the US vehemently opposes, preparing for one-on-one combat has become all the more important.
What do we know about US Army combat goggles?
The US Army developed IVAS goggles for use in close combat. According to a press release previously released by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), the new glasses will increase the situational awareness of infantry personnel.
From the outside, versions 1.0 and 1.1 appear comparable. Both have night vision at least as good as most field systems. Deployed to only a few close combat forces, the binocular Enhanced Night Vision Device is the only other goggles with thermal sights in the same device. Additionally, both versions support “passive targeting”.
With the goggles, soldiers can scan around corners, see in the dark and view tactical information such as digital maps. At the heart of the IVAS glasses’ functionality is how the new glasses use resources from omnidirectional cameras installed outside the armored vehicles.
According to sources, an infrared night vision scope mounted on the rifle may allow the IVAS to communicate with soldiers’ weapons. Soldiers can aim their weapons while hiding behind cover or use binoculars to assess the area for attackers without being physically harmed by nearby enemies.
According to Dr. According to Bruce Jette, a former Army acquisition manager who spoke to The National Interest, the technology can give soldiers a three-dimensional perspective they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Jette emphasized that IVAS uses a human-machine interface (HMI) to connect some of the brain mechanisms that underlie human vision with software that supports depth perception, peripheral vision and other subtleties associated with the human eye.
Their initial deployment was planned for late 2021, and then a deadline of September 2022 was set. According to officials, the development of new approaches to improve the quality of night vision while incorporating the cutting-edge aspects of mixed reality necessary for Google’s success warranted some delays.
With delivery scheduled for 2023, U.S. Army soldiers will be better equipped to map the positions of multiple targets simultaneously, gather information on the whereabouts of enemy forces, and inform gunners of critical attack specifics, such as the range and location of enemy forces. .