The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Research and Engineering (R&E) and the US Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada have partnered to build a fifth-generation (5G) cellular network.

As part of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) development of 5G, the two units have partnered to provide 5G network for both defence and civilian purposes.

5G DoD technical director Dr Joseph Evans said: “The Defense Department recognises 5G technology is vital to maintaining America’s military and economic advantages.

“We expect to start construction on the network at Nellis in July and have it fully operational in January of next year.”

Access to the private network has been given to only users participating in the testing.

The network will feature relocatable cell towers that can be set up and taken down in less than an hour.

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Tests are conducted at mobile operations centres, where team members use the network while on the move.

Through a Prototype Other Transactional Authority (OTA) process, the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) will acquire software prototypes and manage them.

The prototypes developed will focus on two areas, including Applications and Services for Survivable Command and Control (C2), and Wireless Network Enhancements.

The Applications and Services for Survivable C2 prototypes will build C2 software at Air and Wing Operations Centers.

These applications enable C2 operations under a variety of 5G network conditions.

Incorporating human-machine interfaces, the application includes graphic-user interfaces. They are being designed to include audio, gestures, augmented reality devices and haptics that stimulate touch and motion.

The features of 5G will be tested by Network Enhancement prototypes.

This will allow network operators to provide portions of their networks to specific uses, controlling network using software applications.

Testing will be conducted in Nellis in January next year and continue in three 12-month phases.

This test builds upon previous prototypes and experiments on 5G communications technology at Hill AFB, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; and Naval Base San Diego, California.