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CHIPS Articles: DoD, USAF Warfare Center to Build a 5G Network, Test Prototype Software at Nellis

DoD, USAF Warfare Center to Build a 5G Network, Test Prototype Software at Nellis
By DoD News - May 29, 2020
The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada have teamed to build a fifth-generation (5G) cellular network on Nellis as part of DoD's development of 5G for both defense and civilian uses.

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

Only users taking part in the testing will have access to the private network. The network will feature relocatable cell towers that can be set up and taken down in less than an hour. Testing will involve mobile operations centers where team members will use the network while on the move.

The Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP), an industry consortium, will seek commercial software prototypes through a Prototype Other Transactional Authority (OTA) process it will manage. IWRP member companies may provide prototype proposals. Prototypes will focus on two areas: Applications and Services for Survivable Command and Control (C2) and Wireless Network Enhancements.

Applications and Services for Survivable C2 prototypes will build or revise C2 software used at Air and Wing Operations Centers to support distributed planning and mission-execution functions. These applications involve architectures that enable C2 operations under a variety of 5G network conditions. They may incorporate human-machine interfaces, which go beyond simple graphic-user interfaces and may include audio, gestures, augmented reality devices and haptics that stimulate touch and motion.

Network Enhancement prototypes will build and test novel 5G features including network slicing to allow network operators to dedicate portions of their networks to specific uses and software-defined networking, which makes network control possible using software applications. This prototype will also test interoperability with legacy and future generations of cellular and mobile networking.

Testing at Nellis will start in January 2021 and continue in three 12-month phases.

This test builds upon DoD's previously announced 5G communications technology prototyping and experimentation at Hill AFB, Utah; Joint Base Louis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; and Naval Base San Diego, California.

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