Another military base has been added to the growing list of fifth-generation wireless technology test beds, this time testing “ultra wideband” 5G, which can use lower energy levels over a wider portion of the radio spectrum to rapidly send data.
The testing, conducted in partnership with Verizon, will happen at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar near San Diego, which is home to 15,000 service members as well as the 3rd Marine Air Wing. The Marine Corps plans to test how 5G can enable future smart bases that are more protected, resilient, and supported by autonomous transportation vehicles. It is the first ultra wideband test on a military installation, according to the news release.
“We are excited to explore the art of the possible with 5G Ultra Wideband’s high bandwidth, fast speeds and low latency,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, Director of Technology and Partnerships for the Marine Corps Installation Next program. “This is a critical step to accelerate the nation’s 5G aspirations. At Miramar, we are focused on collaboratively exploring 5G-enabled technology in the areas of energy management, connected vehicles, drones, and base security.”
The partnership with Verizon is similar to many others set up at bases across the country. This partnership was brought together through the NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge, a technology partnership program that recently expanded its locations on Navy and Marine Corps bases.
Linking private sector companies like Verizon with the military is a part of the Pentagon’s 5G strategy to counter the growth Chinese companies have had with developing the emerging technology.
“We’re thrilled to partner with MCAS Miramar to create a 5G test bed where we can work together to develop new uses cases that improve cybersecurity, enhance the use of unmanned ground systems and drone delivery, and more,” Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon, said.
The partnership will act as a “living lab” for 5G testing, Verizon said. A benefit to ultra wideband is its lower power use and high bandwidth data transmission, giving the Marine Corps opportunities to experiment with “energy management” of the technology.