The US Military Want 5G Fast

Defence contractor Lockheed Martin and Microsoft are working together on 5G technologies to significantly improve US military communications. 

The two companies will test how to effectively expand and manage 5G networking technology for Joint-All Domain Operations defence applications using Microsoft’s 5G and Microsoft Azure services for Lockheed Martin’s Hybrid Base Station, a military-grade ruggedised “multi-network gateway and cell tower in a box.”

The project is intended to improve reliable connections for the US Department of Defense (DOD) systems that are used for spanning air, land, sea, space and cyber domains and securing critical military networks is vital to ensure the resilience and reliability required by combatants. 

“Microsoft’s expertise in cloud computing and scaling complement our vision to enable secure communications and run critical mission applications at the edge,” said Dan Rice, vice president of 5G.MIL Programs at Lockheed Martin.  “Innovative commercial partnerships like this help us accelerate and deploy the transformative capabilities that can best help our customers address a rapidly evolving threat landscape.... Today’s announcement brings together Lockheed Martin’s transformative base station technology and the power of Microsoft’s cloud capabilities to deliver mission-critical solutions at the tactical edge,” Tom Keane, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said in a statement. 

Current armed forces are challenged by rapidly evolving adversaries that aim to deny, degrade or infiltrate communications networks. 

Modern integrated warfare doctrine attempts to address the challenge presented by rapidly evolving adversaries with the capabilities meant to deny, degrade or infiltrate communications networks. Effective management of secure networks offers the resilience and reliability required by the 21st century battlefield and 5G technology enables the accelerated transfer of large quantities of data and rapid communications. 

The companies recently had a successful demonstration of these advanced communications capabilities at Lockheed Martin Space’s 5G test range in Colorado. “We essentially simulated four different air platforms doing ISR missions and close air support, to support a simulated special operations force on the ground that was pursuing a high value target,” said Dan Rice, Lockheed’s vice president for 5G.MIL, the term Lockheed uses to describe its 5G efforts.

The new 5G connectivity is expected to give the US military forces decision-making advantages in complex and contested environments. 

Fifth Generation (5G) communication systems bring more reliable, higher throughput and ultra low-latency connectivity required for edge devices and platforms, like autonomous systems, to fully harness the power of artificial intelligence. 

By integrating 5G with existing military communications and datalinks, combatants can achieve more effective operations in communications-contested and denied environments and have access to data to perform their missions anywhere in the world.

Lockheed Martin:    I-HLS:    Breaking Defense:   Defense News:    Army Technology

Real Clear Defense:    Lockheed Martin

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