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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Defense collaboration eyes 5G development, testing

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The Department of Defense (DoD) recently announced that two entities are collaborating to build and test a fifth-generation (5G) cellular network.

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) are partnering in the endeavor at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., following DOD’s development of 5G for both defense and civilian uses.

The network will feature relocatable cell towers possessing the ability to be set up and taken down in less than an hour. Testing would involve mobile operations centers where team members will use the network while on the move.

“The Defense Department recognizes 5G technology is vital to maintaining America’s military and economic advantages,” Joseph Evans, DOD technical director for 5G and the lead for the department’s 5G development effort, said. “We expect to start construction on the network at Nellis in July and have it fully operational in January of next year.”

The Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) will be seeking commercial software prototypes via a managed Prototype Other Transactional Authority (OTA) process, with officials indicating IWRP member companies may provide prototype proposals focusing on two areas: Applications and Services for Survivable Command and Control (C2) and Wireless Network Enhancements.

Testing at Nellis will start in January 2021 and continue in three 12-month phases. The tests build upon DOD’s previously announced 5G communications technology prototyping and experimentation at Hill AFB, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; and Naval Base San Diego, California.