ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (May 26, 2020) -- Army Futures Command (AFC) is looking for ways to adapt Fifth Generation (5G) wireless technologies for use on the multi-domain battlefield of the future.
The Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (C5ISR) Center – a component of AFC’s Combat Capabilities Development Command – is leading the science and technology research associated with adapting and applying the next evolution of commercial communications infrastructure for use in a tactical environment.
“I’m very excited about the technologies underpinning 5G,” said Michael Monteleone, the C5ISR Center’s director of Space and Terrestrial Communications. “From an Army perspective, the value of this technology is in the way it connects and enables other capabilities.”
The C5ISR Center is especially interested in assessing and adapting network slicing and beamforming technologies. Monteleone said the Center is integrating work from those projects, some of which have been underway for a couple of years, with other technologies to provide capabilities that will be in use by the warfighter beginning in fiscal year 2023.
Network slicing enables the creation of multiple virtual networks over a shared physical infrastructure. Software is used to orchestrate and customize the capacity, latency, and cybersecurity of these “slices” to support mission-specific needs.
“Adaptation of network slicing technologies to the tactical domain will transform the tactical network from a rigid and slow-to-adapt network into a high-performance, flexible network that can be configured on-demand to execute missions,” said Dr. Akber Qureshi, chief engineer for the C5ISR Center’s Tactical Communications Division.
Directional beamforming focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than having the signal spread in all directions from a broadcast antenna, as it normally would. This technology will enable the reuse of spectrum, higher throughputs of data, and near-instantaneous adaptability based on network needs, changes in environmental characteristics, and the availability of resources.
Beamforming will also enable Soldiers to get closer to adversaries while significantly lowering the possibility of being detected.
“Using directional beamforming is going to make it a lot harder for the enemy to jam or detect our directional signals,” Dan Duvak, chief of the C5ISR Center’s Radio Frequency Communications (RFC) Division, said. “If our Soldiers can move up closer to the front line of battle and not have the enemy detect them, it gives us a huge advantage.”
Monteleone said both beamforming and network slicing technologies will make tactical communications more efficient in terms of spectrum use, enabling the Army to “do more without paying for more.”
In addition, costs related to developing and implementing these technologies are dropping as commercial entities compete to bring 5G to the masses.
“Industry is driving the development and implementation of commercial 5G,” Monteleone said. “But we encourage them to consider how their innovations can be applied in the tactical environment, and to bring those ideas to us.”
The C5ISR Center will use Cooperative Research and Development Agreements and the Small Business Innovation Research program to enable partnerships with industry. Interested parties can request a Technical Interchange Meeting via the organization’s website at https://c5isr.ccdc.army.mil/.
For more information, contact the C5ISR Center Public Affairs Office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The C5ISR Center is the Army’s applied research and advanced technology development center for C5ISR capabilities. As the Army’s primary integrator of C5ISR technologies and systems, the center develops and matures capabilities that support all six Army modernization priorities, enabling information dominance and tactical overmatch for the joint warfighter.
The C5ISR Center is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.