Varjo, maker of high-end XR headsets, today announced that it has closed a multi-million dollar deal to supply headsets for the U.S. Army’s Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Air Trainer (RVCT-A) initiative.

The US. Army’s Reconfigurable Virtual Collective Air Trainer (RVCT-A) aims to deliver virtual training modules that are easy to set up and transport, making training cheaper and more accessible. Specifically the training modules are focused on training pilots of Apache, Chinook, and Blackhawk helicopters.

Varjo says it has been selected by integrator Cole Engineering to supply XR-3 Focal Edition headsets for the program in what amounts to a “multi-million dollar” deal for the company.

Varjo isn’t saying exactly how many headsets it will furnish for the program, but a rough estimate (using a minimum floor of $2 million for the deal and the $6,500 price of Varjo XR-3) suggests somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 headsets. Varjo’s deal may include ongoing revenue from the annual Varjo Subscription service that’s required to use its professional headsets.

Varjo cites the headset’s ability to do high-quality passthrough and occlusion which enables the RVCT-A modules to support a mix of real and virtual imagery. This is especially important given the need to train pilots with their hands on the actual controls of the aircraft, rather than expecting them to fiddle with VR controllers. And of course the headset includes the company’s signature ‘bionic display’, which offers retina resolution in a small area at the center of the headset’s field-of-view.

VR flight simulation and training has been around for decades in militaries across the world. In many cases, flight training has involved full-sized cockpit replicas and dome-projection displays that are large and difficult to transport. Today it’s possible to provide an immersive field-of-view inside a VR headset, making portable flight trainers much more practical.

Image courtesy Varjo

Varjo’s headset deal is just one part of Cole Engineering’s $500 million contract to supply RVCT modules to the U.S. Army, including a Ground version for infantry training.

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That broader contract is part of the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE) initiative which seeks to enhance the branch’s training programs with immersive capabilities.

“[Cole Engineering’s] RVCT solution is built upon a modular hardware architecture, which allows RVCT to replicate U.S. Army ground and air vehicles through common configuration items. The combination of high-fidelity physical and virtual control interfaces utilizes real-world system hardware and immerses the Soldier via Virtual and Augmented Reality through the Synthetic Training Environment-Information System (STE-IS) software,” Cole Engineering wrote about its contract with the Army.

Varjo says its deal with Cole Engineering to supply headsets for the RVCT program is “one of the 70+ immersive defense training programs featuring Varjo’s hardware and software solutions worldwide.”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • ViRGiN

    So nothing significant.
    Pimax has received several tens of millions, several times.
    Here multi million dollars can mean as little as 2.1 million.

    • LMAO

      Ignorant troll alert..

    • ViRGiNCRUSHER

      I go where you go!! I’m watching you!

      • ViRGiN

        Ignorant troll alert!

  • Ad

    Gross, especially when this spreads out to friendly regimes like Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    • Anonymous

      Friendly…?
      They are like the most traitorous fence-sitter if not backstabber of all countries that superficially claims themselves to be allies to the US. If not for the oil production and Bosphorous Strait respectively they are totally unworthy to be the free countries’ allies.

      I would have added India to the list ore-covid years, but now at least they are hostile towards commie China who are the scums of humanity and deserves total annihilation.

      • Ad

        Deranged bot.

      • LMAO

        Ignorant troll alert!

        • ViRGiN

          Chinese spy alert!!!!!

          • LMAO

            Ignorant troll alert!

          • ViRGiNCRUSHER

            I got ViRGiN to block me lmao..That was the goal!

          • ViRGiNCRUSHER

            Crushing ViRGiNS on the daily

      • CrusaderCaracal

        “Commie China who are the scums of humanity and deserve total annihilation”
        Is this account managed by Liberty Prime?

  • psuedonymous

    “Varjo isn’t saying exactly how many headsets it will furnish for the program, but a rough estimate (using a minimum floor of $2 million for the deal and the $6,500 price of Varjo XR-3) suggests somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 headsets. ”

    For this sort of contract, hardware costs are usually only a minor fraction compared to development and support costs. Particularly for government contracts and double-particularly for DoD contracts, as what is delivered at the end of the contract is almost always wildly different from what is specced at the start of the contract (and failing to price this is can easily end up with a large overall loss).

    • Ben Lang

      That’s true, it’s a very rough guess, but it also contextualizes ‘how many headset’s worth’ the deal may be to the company in terms of revenue.

  • xyzs

    in a near future, pilots will be mostly flight sim experts, who can time to time fly the real thing.

    • Anonymous

      Unless we eventually can get full dive to simulate g-force, sounds etc., VR sim will never replace the real thing and is only good as a starter training.