The Visible Integral-field Replicable Unit Spectrograph (VIRUS) consists of a baseline build of 150 identical
spectrographs (arrayed as 75 units, each with a pair of spectrographs) fed by 33,600 fibers, each 1.5 arcsec diameter,
deployed over the 22 arcminute field of the upgraded 10 m Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET). The goal is to deploy 96
units. VIRUS has a fixed bandpass of 350-550 nm and resolving power R~700. VIRUS is the first example of
industrial-scale replication applied to optical astronomy and is capable of spectral surveys of large areas of sky. The
method of industrial replication, in which a relatively simple, inexpensive, unit spectrograph is copied in large numbers,
offers significant savings of engineering effort, cost, and schedule when compared to traditional instruments.
The main motivator for VIRUS is to map the evolution of dark energy for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy
Experiment (HETDEX+) using 0.8M Lyman-α emitting galaxies as tracers. The full VIRUS array is due to be deployed
in late 2011 and will provide a powerful new facility instrument for the HET, well suited to the survey niche of the
telescope. VIRUS and HET will open up wide field surveys of the emission-line universe for the first time. We present
the design, cost, and current status of VIRUS as it enters production, and review performance results from the VIRUS
prototype. We also present lessons learned from our experience designing for volume production and look forward to
the application of the VIRUS concept on future extremely large telescopes (ELTs).