The Department of Defense(DoD) announced June 3 that it is expanding its 5G experimentation and testing to seven new military bases.

The new sites are Naval Base Norfolk in Virginia; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii; Joint Base San Antonio in Texas; the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin in California; Fort Hood in Texas; Camp Pendleton in California; and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

This second round of sites, dubbed Tranche 2, brings the total number of installations selected to host 5G testing to 12. The testing is part of 5G development roadmap guided by the Department of Defense 5G Strategy.

The Pentagon is focusing its efforts on “large-scale experimentation and prototyping of dual-use (military and commercial) 5G technology that will provide high speeds, quicker response times, and the ability to handle many more wireless devices than current wireless technology,” according to a DoD statement.

Last year the DoD launched Tranche 1, which included five sites – Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State; Hill Air Force Base in Utah; Naval Base San Diego in California; and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia.

The bases were selected based on multiple criteria, including 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.”

The DoD also anticipates issuing requests for prototype proposals from the private sector in the next few weeks. The new round of requests will be focused on:

  • Ship-wide/Pier Connectivity at Naval Station Norfolk;
  • Enhancing Aircraft Mission Readiness at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam;
  • Augmented Reality Support of Maintenance and Training at Joint Base San Antonio;
  • Wireless Connectivity for Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) at the NTC at Fort Irwin and Fort Hood;
  • Wireless Connectivity for FOBs and TOCs at Camp Pendleton;
  • DoD 5G Core Security Experimentation Network at Joint Base San Antonio and multiple remote locations; and
  • Bi-directional Spectrum Sharing – DoD/Commercial at Tinker Air Force Base.

The DoD has previously issued requests for prototype proposals for 5G projects in March and April of this year.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.