Microsoft wins $480m bid to supply the US Army with its AR headsets

Microsoft wins a $480m contract to supply the US military with its HoloLens AR headset for live combat as well as combat training.

November 30, 2018

I love the smell of AR in the morning. 

Yesterday, Microsoft won a 2-year, $480m military contract with the US government to add its AR headset to the US military’s war chest.

According to the government’s project description, if successful, the contract could result in orders of more than 100k of its HoloLens headsets, to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide, and engage before the enemy.”

Don’t worry, it’s not just for killing 

The headsets will also be used for training to kill, as highlighted in one of the bidding contracts, saying the headset would enable “25 bloodless battles before the 1st battle.”

Originally created for consumers, the HoloLens headset has recently made a splash with factory workers for automobile companies like Toyota, Ford, and Daimler. 

Of course, the military has some notes on the current hardware, like incorporating night vision and thermal sensing — and, of course, it ain’t a war mask without vital sign and concussion monitoring technology!

A whole new AR-ms race

The bidding process was designed for the Army to work with nontraditional defense contractors: According to Bloomberg, Magic Leap and 25 other companies pursued the contract in some capacity.

The link between big tech and the US military is a hot-button issue. Over the past year, employees at Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all protested their companies’ bids for government contracts — expect some form of public condemnation from Microsoft employees.

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