The Pentagon’s technology office has partnered with the Air Force Warfare Center to build a mobile 5G cellular network at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada that will host software prototype tests starting next January.

The network is set to feature relocatable cell towers that can be set up and taken down in less than an hour, as officials look to test possibilities for mobile operations centers and using 5G on the move.

Nellis Air Force Base

”The Defense Department recognizes 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,” Joseph Evans, the Pentagon’s lead for 5G efforts, said in a statement. 

Prototype projects that run on the new network will focus on two areas: applications and services for survivable command and control (C2) and wireless network enhancements.

For C2 projects, the Pentagon is seeking prototypes to improve software used at Air and Wing Operations Centers that utilize 5G capabilities to support distributed planning and mission functions.

“These applications involve architectures that enable C2 operations under a variety of 5G network conditions,” officials wrote in a statement. “They may incorporate human-machine interfaces, which go beyond simple graphic-user interfaces and may include audio, gestures, augmented reality devices and haptics that stimulate touch and motion.”

Network enhancement prototypes will be used to build and test novel 5G features including “network slicing to allow network operators to dedicate portions of their networks to specific uses and software-defined networking.”

“This prototype will also test interoperability with legacy and future generations of cellular and mobile networking,” officials wrote.

Prototype opportunities will be open to members of the Information Warfare Research Project consortium.