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82nd Airborne Troops Test Army’s Next-Generation Combat Goggle

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina — 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers helping the Army make decisions on its newest program to provide Infantry Soldiers with a mixed reality headset.

Working toward a future when cloud services, squad radios, and necessary combat information can be combined and visualized on a set of futuristic goggles, Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team are rehearsing combat missions under sweltering 100 degree-plus heat, high humidity, and even a few thunderstorms.

According to Program Executive Office Soldier, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) may one day integrate next generation 24/7 situational awareness tools and high-resolution digital sensors to deliver a single platform that improves Soldier sensing, decision making, target acquisition, and target engagement.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said during first looks at IVAS, “Remember early satellite phones from the 1980s that wealthy people had in their cars? They were big and clunky and now we have iPhones. It took us some time to get there.”

Capt. Roberto Huie, commander of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 82nd Airborne Division, said seeing the location of all his Soldiers wearing the system is a huge benefit.

“Such a system will significantly improve reaction time for unit leaders who make decisions under the stress of battle,” he said.

The Opposing Force Commander, Capt. Phillip Johnston of Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), 82nd Airborne Division, said the test gave him an opportunity to train his company, with nine separate missions to plan, rehearse and execute.

“We trained at a level of we have not seen previously in the Army,” he said. “It was invaluable to have an outside look into the Company from the Operational Test Command without having the pressure of graded evaluations that normally come with training events.”


Story by LTC Jerry L. Jones Jr., Test Officer, Maneuver Test Directorate, U.S. Operational Test Command

Photos by Mr. Nicholas Robertson, Visual Information Specialist, U.S. Army Operational Test Command

11 Responses to “82nd Airborne Troops Test Army’s Next-Generation Combat Goggle”

  1. Raul says:

    Dunno about this, kinda looks airsofty. Also this quote is an odd one, “without having the pressure of graded evaluations…” What sayist you all? I’m just a simple civilian so maybe don’t get the nuance.

    • Mike H. says:

      The military uses exercises to evaluate a unit’s ability to apply doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures. If you are being evaluated, it is a good general rule to avoid doing anything dumb, different, or dangerous. There is room for initiative and operational art, but you are being evaluated to a task, condition, and standard.

      An experiment or operational test and evaluation event opens up the ability of the participants to explore potential TTPs that are beyond doctrine, especially when evaluating new gear. Failure is allowed, and in some cases encouraged to test the limits of new equipment and yet-to-be codified procedures.

  2. Anon says:

    If you look closely in a few images (far easier with the fullsize stuff from the Army website’s version of the article) you can see IVAS took some good knocks in testing.

    One headset has the tip of a standoff broken, and another has what appears to be the front glass of one of the digital night vision sensors shattered (which shouldn’t effect it)

  3. Ray Forest says:

    It’s been so hot and humid here the last 3 weeks. I can only imagine they had to put windshield wipers on the inside of those.

  4. Dak says:

    This seems ridiculous to me. Extremely bulky, too many wires and more weight added to the rifle. We can’t even get forward deployed infantry units basic things like 148’s or 152’s why are we wasting money on this? I’d take a lighter and faster squad using 152’s and 31a’s over this any day.

  5. Pepper says:

    Man, first the 82nd has to go back to all issued gear and now they have to test and evaluate IVAS? Poor bastards…

    In all seriousness good for them. What better way to test something than to give it to Joe and have him metaphorically and literally break it. IVAS and NGSW are going to require more than just logistical changes, we’re going to have to adapt and develop new doctrine around them.

    • Jason says:

      No better way to test a product’s durability than to hand it to a grunt and see if they can break it lol

  6. nclyde says:

    The helmet that walks like a man.

  7. Sswisher says:

    Anything to give are toops the upper hand is good keep up the good work thank you for ur service

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