Microsoft Corp, has reportedly announced that it has won a contract to sell AR (augmented reality) headsets to the U.S. Army. The headsets are based on the firm’s HoloLens product, supported by the Azure cloud computing services. As per a Microsoft spokesman, this new contract might be worth as much as $21.88 billion over a period of 10 years.
In the past couple of years, the tech giant has worked with the U.S. Army on the prototyping phase of what is named IVAS or the Integrated Visual Augmentation System. Microsoft stated on Wednesday that the U.S. Army had now moved into the production phase of the new project.
In a blog post, Alex Kipman, a Technical Fellow at Microsoft, stated that the headsets are specifically designed to deliver improved situational awareness, to enable sharing of information as well as decision-making in a variety of situations.
According to a Microsoft spokesman, the new headsets would be manufactured in the U.S.
Additionally, the tech giant was also expected to win the JEDI cloud computing contract worth $10 billion with the Pentagon, however the contract currently lingers in dispute due to a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com Inc. The Pentagon officials warned the United States lawmakers in February that the Defense Department might drop the contract completely if the dispute continues in the courts.
Brad Smith, President, Microsoft, had assured the Senate Armed Service Committee that this system can also integrate thermal night vision as well as facial recognition to give soldiers with real-time analytics on remote battlegrounds.
However, several Microsoft employees have been taking exception to the company’s increasing association with the military.
Back in 2018, after Microsoft announced a contract worth $480 million to supply prototypes to the U.S Army, as many as 94 workers petitioned the firm to cancel the deal. Additionally, they also petitioned the company to stop developing all or any weapons technologies.
The workers' group stated on Twitter that they would much prefer that Microsoft take a stand for Transgender people all over the globe on Transgender Day of Visibility, instead of making weapons of war.