The Department of Defense is seeking input on a forthcoming Request for Prototype Proposals for testing the military uses of 5G at two select U.S bases.
The notice to industry follows the department’s November announcement that it would be allowing 5G testing and experimentation at four U.S. military bases starting in 2020.
Specifically, the department is working to finalize this RPP related to testing and experimentation at two of those bases: 5G dynamic spectrum sharing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and smart warehouse and asset management at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia. Industry feedback to the Nov. 29 notice will help inform that final RPP, which will guide what testing and experimentation the government will allow on those two bases.
At Marine Corps Logistics Base, the DoD is looking for prototypes that can leverage 5G technologies to improve the efficiency, accuracy, security and safety of material and supply handling, management, storage and distribution for Marine Corps’ warehouse operations. Not only will these 5G-enabled smart warehouses be able to enhance those operations, they should also serve as a proving ground for using 5G technologies for large-scale military logistics operations in the future.
At Hill Air Force Base, the DoD and Air Force are looking for solutions to the coexistence of airborne radar systems and 5G cellular systems, specifically in the 3,100-3,450 MHz band. In order to test possible solutions, the Air Force wants to set up a local, full-scale 5G mobile cellular network at Hill Air Force Base in order to see what impact it has on current systems. Prototypes should provide capabilities to overcome any interference and enable spectrum sharing or coexistence.
The final RPP will be issued through the National Spectrum Consortium, an acquisition vehicle established through a five-year, $1.25 billion Other Transaction Agreement with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Emerging Capabilities and Prototyping. Made up of traditional contractors, non-traditional contractors, non-governmental organizations and academia, the organization is intended to facilitate the development of technologies that could revolutionize the spectrum, especially 5G.
“Under the OTA, DoD, in coordination with industry, will develop and mature spectrum access technologies that enable improved cognizance of spectrum activity, protection of U.S. activity in the electromagnetic spectrum domain and provide the ability to relocate and/or share spectrum anytime and anywhere access is denied,” the department stated in a press release.
The DoD has been working with the consortium to develop its approach to 5G development over the past year, noted Joshua Weaver, associate director of the DoD’s 5G working group, at the Nov. 5 DC5G conference.
“We do a lot of work … for 5G through the National Spectrum Consortium, and earlier this year we had a request for technical concepts that we released, where we solicited the consortium members … to submit ideas that were anonymized and then reviewed … to peel out the most impactful ideas,” said Weaver. “We’re really trying to look at the approaches to 5G infrastructure roll out from a multi-agency perspective” where agencies can collaborate on the development and testing of 5G capabilities.
Submissions to the Nov. 29 RPP are limited to NSC members. The department will be accepting responses to the draft RPP through Dec. 16.
The department also plans to issue two more draft RPPs for 5G testing that will occur at other military bases: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and Naval Base San Diego, California. According to an earlier announcement, augmented reality/virtual reality testing will take place at the former, while the latter will also be used for smart warehouse testing.
Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.