US Army Soldiers Get Night Vision Hybrid Reality Goggles In 2023; China is also training with VR for close combat

The U.S. Army is ready to enter future battlefields with all-new “combat glasses” as modern warfighting becomes more technologically driven and foreign military powers integrate advanced systems to enhance combat readiness.

After some technical glitches and delays, select soldiers in operational and training units will finally receive the US Army’s new “Mixed Reality” glasses in 2023.

Mixed reality glasses are being developed under the Integrated Optical Augmentation System, or IVAS. This nearly $22 billion initiative will provide troops with situational awareness that is similar to that of a fighter pilot.

Earlier this year, the EurAsian Times mentioned Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions Douglas Bush has “authorized the Army to begin accepting” some of the 5,000 sets of protective eyewear, spokesman Jamal Beck said in a statement. So far, its distribution has been delayed due to concerns about the device’s performance due to a lack of more comprehensive testing.

Microsoft’s high-tech combat glasses are being delivered to the US Army after promising field test results. The device is designed keeping in mind the specific requirements of close combat which include improving troop visibility in warfare by widening the field of view, enhancing depth perception, and bypassing the limits of human vision.

Integrated optical zoom system – Wikipedia

Mixed reality (MR) is an emerging technology that blends virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These head-mounted monitors include cameras that constantly map the wearer’s environment. Besides their combat use, these devices are growing in popularity among the gaming communities.

The device combines night vision, augmented reality tools for training and missions, wireless linking to a weapon location, and target acquisition in every goggle. The Army will provide troops in unnamed operating and training units next year with 5,000 IVAS 1.0 and another 5,000 copies of IVAS 1.1.

The Army has spent the past three years tinkering with the latest technology, working on the Microsoft HoloLens core unit to develop a field-ready piece of equipment to fully handle the high-tech jobs officials expect future combat will demand, even for the late soldier.

Virtual and Mixed Reality find application with advanced militaries around the world preparing for closed 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 places. observed by European Times.

Previous reports have also indicated that China is using virtual reality and simulation training for urban combat. The Northern Theater Command’s PLAN Logistics Support Unit used virtual reality to conduct a “wartime fuel support exercise” in March 2021.

“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has begun to use virtual reality (VR) technologies in training because it allows officers and soldiers to gain improved combat capability more efficiently,” said a report in the state-owned Global Times.

It becomes all the more imperative for the US Expeditionary Forces to adopt combat mixed reality glasses as tensions continue to persist in the Indo-Pacific region, with the potential for a US-China clash low but never nil.

With China’s aggressive maneuvers against Taiwan which the United States strongly opposes, preparing for individual combat has assumed even greater importance.

What do we know about combat glasses for the US Army?

The US Army has developed IVAS glasses for use by close combat forces. According to a previously released press release from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), the new protective eyewear will increase situational awareness for infantry personnel.

From the outside, versions 1.0 and 1.1 appear to be comparable. Both have night vision that’s at least as good as most field systems. The improved night vision sight, which has been fielded to a few close combat troops, is the only other goggle with thermal sights in the same rig. In addition, both versions support “passive targeting”.

With the glasses, soldiers can scan around corners, see in the dark, and view tactical information such as digital maps. The crux of the IVAS goggles function is how the new goggles can be used to feed from omnidirectional cameras installed outside armored vehicles.

Rangers from the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment participate in a new equipment exercise on the IVAS Capability Set 4 during a tropical weather test at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, in March 2021. (Army)
Rangers from the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, participate in a new equipment training on the IVAS Capability Set 4 during a tropical weather test at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, in March 2021. (Army)

According to sources, an infrared night vision scope mounted on a rifle could allow IVAS to communicate with soldiers’ weapons. Soldiers can aim their weapons while hiding behind cover or use the scope to assess the area for attackers without being physically harmed by nearby enemies.

According to Dr. Bruce Jett, a former Army acquisitions executive who spoke with him the national interestTechnology can provide soldiers with a 3D perspective they otherwise would not have.

Jette confirmed that IVAS uses a human-machine interface (HMI) to connect part of the brain mechanisms underlying human vision to the software that supports depth perception, peripheral vision, and other subtleties associated with the human eye.

They were scheduled to be fielded in late 2021, and a September 2022 deadline was set after that. According to officials, developing new approaches to improve the quality of night vision while simultaneously including cutting-edge mixed reality aspects essential to Google’s success requires some delay.

With delivery scheduled for 2023, U.S. Army soldiers will be better equipped to map the locations of many targets at once, gather information about the whereabouts of enemy forces, and notify the shooter of critical attack details such as the range and location of hostile forces. .

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