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Air Force to Increase Number of Bases to Host 5G Experiments; Frank Konieczny Quoted

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Frank Konieczny
Frank Konieczny

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is preparing to expand the number of U.S. military bases that will accommodate 5G technology testing activities, Federal News Network reported Friday.

Frank Konieczny, the service’s chief technology officer, said there has been a leasing opportunity for 10 installations in the U.S. southeast region and another incoming for 20 bases in the northeast.

“So as we do this, the vendor has to come across and say they will provide service for all the bases that we have in the cluster. They also have to have ability to accelerate to 5G at some point in time and give us the scheduling points,” Konieczny said Wednesday during a webinar.

“And they also have to tell us that we give them areas that they must cover with all the bases. So the award of the opportunity is basically to tell us exactly what they’re going to do and we give them a 25 year lease, which is to give them the return on investments necessary to support them even going to the bases which are far away that nobody really wants to be at.”

Konieczny said spectrum sharing with commercial enterprises is one of the experiments the service is carrying out. He noted that the Air Force is testing at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii the capability of 5G to facilitate direct transfer of aircraft maintenance and performance data during the landing process.

“This is at the edge. We’re going to use this data at the edge at the depots, as opposed to moving it any place else,” Konieczny said. “So the idea is as an aircraft lands – before it even lands, while it’s landing – all the information is pulled off. In 5G that’s theoretically feasible to actually do that. It’s fast enough.”

In early June, the Department of Defense (DoD) selected seven U.S. military bases to host 5G testing activities as part of Tranche 2, bringing the total number of installations carrying out 5G experimentation to 12.

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