US announces $600 million for 5G military experiments

It'll be spent on drones, robotics and virtual reality training.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
5G connectivity

5G is a priority for the US military.

James Martin/CNET

The US Department of Defense has announced it's providing $600 million in funding for 5G experiments at five military bases. The tests will focus on things like virtual reality training, robotics and drones , with the DOD on Thursday calling 5G "vital to US national and economic security."

The test sites are located at Naval Base San Diego; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia; and Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas.

5G "will strengthen our nation's warfighting capabilities," said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. 

The experiments will include:

  • Naval Base San Diego: smart warehousing and shipments of supplies between naval units and shore facilities, partnering with AT&T for connection and using autonomous drones, biometrics and robots
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord: mixed-reality training, partnering with AT&T and Samsung for connectivity and using prototype combat training solutions with AR and VR
  • Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany: smart warehouse for storing and maintaining vehicles
  • Nellis Air Force Base: developing 5G technology for "air, space and cyberspace lethality," working with AT&T for 5G connectivity
  • Hill Air Force Base: enabling Air Force radars to share spectrum with 5G cell services, working with Nokia on antenna systems and Ericsson on machine learning.

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