Microsoft just won a $480 million contract with the U.S. military.
The Redmond, Washington based tech giant will be providing prototypes of its augmented reality headset, , for the Army to use in combat missions and in training.
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. The terms of the contract could see the U.S. military deploying 100,000 of the company’s AR headsets.
The contract is part of a called HUD 3.0, for “heads up device.” Also known as the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, the government’s description of the program states its purpose is to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.”
Over the summer, the U.S. military met with defense contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., and Raytheon Co. for the program. However, the contract ended up going through a bidding process to encourage non-traditional entities to work with the military. Along with Microsoft, another AR headset manufacturer, Magic Leap also went after the contract.
Mashable recently had the opportunity to Microsoft’s HoloLens with its competitor Magic Leap. While we gave the upper hand to Magic Leap, Microsoft ended up winning the contract. It seems the military disagrees with us.
Microsoft has yet to market its HoloLens AR headset to the average consumer. The company a Development Edition of the headset for $3,000 and a Software Suite version for $5,000.
It’s not yet known if Microsoft will receive internal blowback over its HoloLens military contract. In June, over 100 of the company’s employees requesting that Microsoft end its cloud computing contract with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Following Google’s decision to of the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud competition contact, many Microsoft employees protested over their company’s decision to not follow suite.
Unlike Google, which has recently ended contracts with the U.S. government over after employee objections, Microsoft is taking a . 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 U.S. military and that the company “has their back.”
Homepage image via NASA/Getty Images
Credit: Source link