Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Sunday said it is working with Microsoft [MSFT] to further advance 5G networking technologies for the tactical edge of the future battlespace, highlighting that the two companies have already demonstrated connectivity between tactical networking assets and Microsoft’s cloud services.
“Microsoft’s expertise in cloud computing and scaling complement our vision to enable secure communications and run critical mission applications at the edge,” Dan Rice, vice president of 5G.MIL Programs at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement. “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.”
For the demonstration, Lockheed Martin said three of its hybrid base stations, which it describes as a ruggedized cell tower in a box, provided connectivity for interoperable tactical radio and real-time radio frequency analytics using various Microsoft commercial cloud environments.
“By using the advanced capabilities such as high performance on small edge footprint, security and scalability of [Microsoft’s] Azure Private 5G Core, Lockheed Martin has a path to support the interconnection of 5G and military networks needed for DoD applications out to the tactical edge,” Lockheed Martin said.
They hybrid base station is a new solution from Lockheed Martin that takes advantage of previous work to integrate native data links across different platforms through open system tactical gateway solutions, the company said.
“Building on these existing capabilities, the 5G.MIL hybrid base station is the cornerstone of the networking capabilities being developed and integrated as part of Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL program,” the company said. “This capability aims to provide interoperable communications across warfighting domains by leveraging enhanced 5G technology solutions.”
The work with Microsoft will help in the push to operationalize 5G technology to work in military environments, including reducing size, weight and power of the technology.
The companies are “leveraging commercial 5G investments to accelerate development timelines for DoD and enhancing them for their use cases to meet interoperability, security, resiliency, and performance requirements,” Lockheed Martin said. “This is a key part of Lockheed Martin’s larger 5G.MIL open system architecture approach involving multiple commercial collaborators to bring Joint All Domain Operations to the U.S. military and our allies.”
The recent demonstration took place at Lockheed Martin’s 5G test range in Colorado.
The 5G.MIL effort is part of Lockheed Martin’s broader vision for the defense industry to enable the Defense Department with warfighting solutions for the 21
st Century. James Taiclet, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, wants to help the military services create a digital network for the joint, all domain battlespace that is secure, reliable, has no single point of failure, connects weapon systems, platforms, sensors, and decisionmakers, and layers in artificial intelligence to further improve situational awareness and shrink the decision loop.
Lockheed Martin has formed additional partnerships to drive the 5G.MIL efforts.
Last fall, Lockheed Martin and telecommunications provider Verizon [VZN] partnered to begin demonstrating fifth-generation wireless networking solutions for the military based on a Verizon network installed at the Colorado test range. Lockheed Martin used the Verizon network to connect to its open mission system processor running military applications at its Skunk Works Integration Facility and Test Center in Texas.
Also last year, Lockheed Martin and Omnispace agreed to pursue space-based 5G communications.
Lockheed Martin is planning more demonstrations this year with its 5G.MIL commercial partners.