HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Hill Air Force Base is one of four U.S. military installations that will test fifth generation cellular technology for applications in the defense sector.
The Department of Defense recently announced Hill host testing and experimentation for 5G technology. According to the tech publisher Digital Trends, 5G technology is the next generation of mobile broadband that will ultimately replace or significantly augment the current 4G LTE broadband connection. The technology allows “exponentially faster download and upload speeds ... (and) the time it takes devices to communicate with each other,” according to Digital Trends.
In the immediate term, the DoD plans to, among other things, use the technology to integrate “Augmented and Virtual Reality” into mission planning and training. In a press release, the DoD said the technology will be used in both virtual and live environments on training ranges.
Hill operates the Utah Test and Training Range in west Utah and eastern Nevada. The facility includes over 1.8 million acres of DoD range land and the largest contiguous piece of special use airspace in the United States. The testing range has an annual operating budget of more than $30 million and has equipment and assets valued at about $1 billion.
Sometime this month the department will issue draft request for proposals, looking for defense contractors to join the effort and help run the program. The defense department will use the information gathered from those to create a final RFP in December. The timing of the final RFP will depend on passage of a 2020 defense appropriations bill.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Naval Base San Diego, California; and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia were also selected for the testing program. In the press release, the DoD said the installations were selected for their ability to “provide streamlined access to site spectrum bands, mature fiber and wireless infrastructure, access to key facilities, support for new or improved infrastructure requirements, and the ability to conduct controlled experimentation with dynamic spectrum sharing.”