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Microsoft wins bid to build augmented-reality headsets for US Army

Microsoft wins bid to build augmented-reality headsets for US Army
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Microsoft has signed a contract with the U.S. Army to develop augmented-reality headsets, which the service indicated in a statement will be used both in the field and for training purposes.

A news release from the Army on Wednesday indicated that the headsets would provide night-vision, thermal vision and other sensors "integrated into a unified Heads Up Display."

"The system also leverages augmented reality and machine learning to enable a life-like mixed reality training environment so the [Close Combat Force] CCF can rehearse before engaging any adversaries," read the Army's news release.

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In a statement to CNBC, a Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the deal was worth $21 billion over 10 years.

“The IVAS headset, based on HoloLens and augmented by Microsoft Azure cloud services, delivers a platform that will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective,” said Alex Kipman, a Microsoft technical fellow, in a statement to the news channel.

The contract comes just a little more than two years after employees for Microsoft signed a letter in protest of a previous deal to provide augmented-reality headsets to the Army, which at the time was valued at $479 million.

The several dozen employees who signed the 2019 letter condemned the use of Microsoft's technology for "warfare and oppression."

"We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression," their letter stated. "We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. military, helping one country's government 'increase lethality' using tools we built."

Updated at 5:10 p.m.