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Microsoft secures $480 million contract with U.S. Army for HoloLens headsets

Microsoft will supply the U.S. Army with HoloLens headsets for combat and training purposes as part of a $480 million contract. Bloomberg reports that the contract could ultimately result in the Army's purchase of more than 100,000 headsets.

"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg.

According to the description of the program, the Army will use the headsets to "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide, and engage before the enemy."

HoloLens has already seen plenty of use in enterprise scenarios, often assisting in manufacturing, as well as the design and medical industries. The version of HoloLens the Army will receive will ultimately look quite a bit different from the headset we've come to know, however. According to Bloomberg, the Army has asked Microsoft to incorporate night vision, thermal sensing, and the ability to monitor vital signs like breathing and look for signs of concussions.

The bidding process saw Microsoft beat out a number of other competitors, including Magic Leap, which recently released its first consumer AR headset.

The contract comes at a time when tech companies are facing increased scrutiny over their work with government agencies. Earlier this year, Microsoft found itself in the middle of controversy over its work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as the agency came under fire for its treatment of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 100 Microsoft employees protested, calling for an end to the company's work with ICE in an open letter.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

29 Comments
  • ICE is American, "migrants" are not. Illegals have no rights in this country, period. Come here the legal way or go back to said 3rd world dump and fix your own country. We owe illegals nothing!!!
  • Applying for amnesty is a legal way. Regardless, the whole separating families strategy is one that many Americans found offensive so they used their rights to express that. You're free to enjoy destroying families as a fear/political tactic, but you should not be surprised that other fellow citizens may feel differently. Anyway, this article is about HoloLens and not about whatever your political viewpoint is, which, frankly, I don't care about and I'm confident others here are less interested in as well. Remember, political fights in comments are pointless. So is grandstanding. It serves no purpose. You will change no one's mind. No one will remember you for it. It's a waste of your time and mine. Going through your comment history you seem like a very angry person with constant name calling, accusing, fighting, and just general irritability. I suggest toning it down a bit or find another site to comment at. Thank you.
  • I think you should start banning idiots from this site.
  • The constitution says otherwise, I recommend reading it.
  • Applying for asylum is perfectly legal. You ignorant Trump people are all the same. Your lack of humanity is disgusting.
  • "Earlier this year, Microsoft found itself in the middle of controversy over its work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as the agency came under fire for its treatment of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border."
    That is, jailing children and deporting their parents. If you think this is a good policy, that's pretty sick. Also interesting that this pure statement of fact in an article about HoloLens triggered you, you perfectly unique little snowflake.
  • You know Obama had the same policy right?
  • You mean, stopped it from happening, only for that specific decision to be reversed personally by Trump?
  • Negative... Obama didnt stop it from happening... there are photos of illegal immigrants in the same camps using tinfoil as sheets under his watch..
  • Yeah but it wasn't reported by the media as a human rights issue, or reported at all.
    When it is reported its portrayed as a unique Trump policy because that fits the narrative.
  • We wouldn't have to detain very many if we finished the Wall.
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 They don't come any more stupid as ideas like this.
  • Another instance of life imitating art. I forsee the terms Halo, Master Chief, and Cortana being used by the US military in the near future.
  • lol, not sure if that's good, bad or scary.
  • Um, the military has been using Master Chief since pretty much the beginning of the modern military 🤔
  • Lol... MS has how many thousands of employees? And the news makes a big deal about 100 or so signing a meaningless open letter... if they are really against working with ICE... how many quit?
  • I have a couple of clients that are large military contractors that are working with the HoloLens right now. They can only speak generally of what they are doing - and already have general specs for the next version (which no matter how much scotch I bought one of the execs - he would not disclose). Pretty much every one of the execs at both firms tells me that it is going to be a huge leap from HoloLens gen 1. I have a gen 1 and love it, so I can't wait. Big contracts like this will just help advance the technology even faster.
  • Yes that's what I'm hoping for is even faster advancement due to this. Lots of tech came to consumers from first being in the military, like GPS
  • Ghost recon future soldier. Enough said
  • Military advance is one bad thing. I hope this will help increase the survival chance of troops instead.
    I can see master chief is created from this cooperation. Just ensure Cortana is included in the deal 🤝.
  • "the Army has asked Microsoft to incorporate night vision, thermal sensing, and the ability to monitor vital signs like breathing and look for signs of concussions.". This sounds like the first version of the kristang googles described in Craig Alanson's Expeditionary force, I ain't saying which book as the entire series is just tooo damn good therefore is a must read AND listen on audible as R.C Bray is amazing in this series. Normally, you can find plot holes in most sci-fi books but Craig Alanson, bless his soul... has the knack for spotting these and addressing them within the story. The only little niggle is the referencing of elements in context when listening to the audiobooks and contains a few swear words... if anyone is too particular about that sort of thing.
  • ""..According to the description of the program, the Army will use the headsets to "increase lethality.."" I would never want the product of my work to contribute to death and destruction.
  • Same here, I wonder how the creators of HoloLens feel about this..
  • There will always be somebody else and/or some other countries that will. You damn well want those people or countries to be your friend. You know, US is not the only country in this world developing weapons. At least you have a choice in US to refuse doing it.
  • I'm not going to get into morality and political debate as it's beyond the scope of this blog/forum. Furthermore almost the entire landscape is just toxic and would rather this blog/forum not be marred by that toxicity.
  • "increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide, and engage before the enemy."
    To me, the whole sentence makes more sense. I believe the word lethality is used here strategically to obtain the crazy budget.
  • An excellent one for Microsoft and HoloLens team.
  • This is a great boost for the HL team, I'm pretty sure Alex Kipman is delighted on this news. This is great overall as it's gonna further grow the AR tech that HL has, with HLv2 on the horizon it's quite exciting to see how this fares. HL 1 is already quite useful, my company has one and has been developing AR manuals for training modules for the manufacturing sector. With continued enterprise usage developers will start to get mindshare just like how Windows from offices slowly transitioned to consumers as it developed on enterprise.
  • It is shameful, but any company like Google helping the design of assassination drones and now Microsoft helping thermal locations of targets for destruction have the blood of those killed by these technologies on their hands...