Set to become the first U.S. military base to field experimental 5G test ranges, Nellis Air Force Base awaits news of the selected network provider. Major General Chuck Corcoran, Commander of the Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis, said an infrastructure provider has been chosen from multiple bids and will soon be announced. “Work is slated to start quickly,” said Corcoran. “Within probably six to eight months, we should have the infrastructure in.”
Citing the liabilities of having “command-and-control” assets in a single and static location, C4ISRNET reported the Air Force intends to test whether it can make its command and control infrastructure more survivable by spreading it out over multiple locations when needed.
Referencing Iran’s January attack on U.S. Forces, Corcoran said brick and mortar operation centers are vulnerable to enemy attack. To alleviate that risk, Nellis’ 5G network will be modular and include cell towers that can be put up and dismantled in less than an hour. The tests will also involve “mobile operations centers where team members will use the network while on the move,” reported C4ISRNET.
“Whether you’re talking about strategic level, operational level [or] tactical level command and control, if you’re in a fixed location, you’re a pretty easy target,” said Corcoran. “Making us mobile is also a much cheaper way to make us resilient. If I can take all this [C2 equipment] and just put small teams of people on the road and move them around — they’re still connected, they’re having the same effect, but they’re not as targetable — that’s a big win.”
Nellis is also reportedly working on an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) to develop and test a range of products designed to connect sensors and platforms, including a cloud computing environment, smart devices, and applications.
“I need sensors to field a common operating picture. I need radars — space based, air-based, land-based, whatever,” Corcoran said. “The C2 experts that sit in an air operations center or tactical operations center or a command and control center, they’re sitting there using tools. Applications, computers … ABMS is working on those tools, those interfaces.”
Eleven additional bases have been selected by the Pentagon to test 5G.
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