Dubbing 5G tech a “foundational enabler for all US military modernization,” the Pentagon announced the massive research initiative on Thursday, which will hand hundreds of millions to 15 private contractors to conduct testing at five US military installations.
Projects will include piloting 5G-enabled augmented/virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing 5G-enabled Smart Warehouses, and evaluating 5G technologies to enhance distributed command and control.
Firms selected for the project include telecoms AT&T, Nokia and Ericsson, intelligence and infotech contractor Booz-Allen Hamilton, the research wing for General Electric, GE Research, and a subsidiary of aerospace giant General Dynamics.
One effort spearheaded by AT&T at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada will apply 5G to “distributed command and control” systems in order to “aid in Air, Space, and Cyberspace lethality,” enhancing communications for mobile command centers in combat scenarios.
At Washington state’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord, AT&T will also work alongside Booz-Allen and two other firms to develop 5G-enabled virtual reality technology for training, mission planning and even “operational use,” though the Pentagon provided no examples of the latter application.
The costly initiative will also see testing carried out at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, a Marine Corps logistics facility in Georgia and California’s Naval Base San Diego, where the companies will develop “smart warehousing” systems and work to integrate 5G cell networks with Air Force radars.