The Pentagon has announced $600 million in awards for projects, which according to the department, "represent the largest full-scale 5G tests for dual-use applications in the world". The projects will include piloting 5G-enabled augmented/virtual reality for mission planning and training, testing 5G-enabled smart warehouses, and evaluating 5G technologies to enhance distributed command and control.
"The Department of Defence is at the forefront of cutting edge 5G testing and experimentation, which will strengthen our nation's warfighting capabilities as well as US economic competitiveness in this critical field. Through these test sites, the Department is leveraging its unique authorities to pursue bold innovation at a scale and scope unmatched anywhere else in the world", the Pentagon said in a statement.
Among the firms involved in the project are telecommunications companies Nokia, Ericsson, AT&T, Oceus Networks, General Electric R&D, and the business unit of US defence and aerospace General Dynamics.
One of the projects is aimed at developing "a testbed for use of 5G technologies to aid in Air, Space, and Cyberspace lethality" while at the same time enhancing the survivability of command and control.
The Pentagon’s announcement comes amid US tensions with China, in particular with Сhinese telecoms giant Huawei. The Trump administration not only put the company on its trade blacklist, which effectively isolated Huawei, prohibiting US companies from doing business with it, but also launched a global campaign to discredit Huawei. The White House claims the company poses a threat to US national security and its allies as it allegedly spies on its customers at the behest of the Chinese government, a claim, which Beijing and Huawei deny.