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US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

30 November 2018
US Army to use Microsoft’s Hololens for combat missions

Well, that's the impression we get given American's military plans to use Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality goggles in combat missions.

The US Army has agreed to pay Microsoft almost half a billion dollars to supply upwards of 100,000 prototype augmented reality headsets for use in training scenarios and actual combat, Bloomberg reports.

"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions", explained Microsoft.

The contract could eventually lead to the military purchasing over 100,000 AR headsets as part of a program to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy", according to Bloomberg, which reported the news earlier Wednesday. Along with Microsoft, another AR headset manufacturer, Magic Leap also went after the contract. Bloomberg reports that the Army has requested features like night vision and thermal sensing, as well as being able to measure and detect signs like breathing and readiness.

Microsoft's HoloLens is now only available to developers for $3,000 and businesses for $5,000. The government contract is asking Microsoft to provide 100,000 units.

The headset has never really been sold as a consumer product, but it's popular with enterprises for manufacturing, training, marketing and other purposes.

While the U.S. Army already uses Microsoft's HoloLens devices in training, this latest development would bring the headsets onto the battleground and into live combat. Microsoft employees recently signed a petition criticizing its contract with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Last month, its President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, authored a on the company website stating that Microsoft will continue to work with the USA military and that the company "has their back". He reaffirmed that "Microsoft will be engaged" with the United States military. "In the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it". It said the winning bidder would be expected to deliver 2,500 headsets within two years, and exhibit the capacity for full-scale production.