Hill AFB to Host Experiment for 5G, Airborne Radars

The Defense Department looks to build and run a full-scale, fifth-generation wireless network at Hill AFB, Utah, to learn more about how it would interact with radars.

In October, DOD announced it would launch experimentation and prototyping programs at four bases exploring how the next leap in connectivity could affect training and logistics. Hill, JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., Naval Base San Diego, Calif., and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., are participating in the initiative.

A recent project notice says the Pentagon and the Air Force need to develop hardware and software that allow airborne radars and 5G cellular systems to share bands on the radio spectrum, particularly focused on the 3,100-3,450 MHz band.

“The objective of this effort is to construct and operate a localized, full-scale 5G mobile cellular network in order to evaluate the impact of the 5G network on airborne radar systems and the radar systems’ impact on the 5G network, employing both active and passive techniques to enable sharing or coexistence,” the Dec. 2 posting said. “The outcome of the project will be capabilities [e.g. fieldable equipment and control systems] and processes to allow radar spectrum sharing or coexistence with cooperating and non-cooperating 5G networks.”

The draft notice also calls for a smart warehouse and asset management project at the Marine Corps installation.

“The intended outcome of the project is a 5G-enabled military smart warehouse that can not only enhance efficiency and safety well beyond the limits of current processes, but also serve as a proving ground for testing, refining, and validating emerging 5G-enabled technologies for large-scale military logistics operations,” the posting said.

Only members of the National Spectrum Consortium of companies, investment firms, non-governmental organizations, and academia can respond to the request for prototype proposals. DOD will publish two more draft notices for the other bases involved.