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USAF Leverages 5G to Support Smart Base Rebuild; Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon Quoted

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The U.S. Air Force has begun rebuilding the hurricane-damaged Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, and has integrated low-latency and large data-transmission of 5G networks with digital twin technology to increase base security, FedScoop reported on Friday. 

The Air Force will work to connect thousands of sensors at Tyndall that collect data and can detect intruders and transmit it by 5G wireless into a digital twin model, which will provide security officers with greater visibility to potential threats.

Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon, the executive director of the base reconstruction effort called the 5G-enabled sensors “robot dogs,” that will signal a digital ‘woof.’ The “dogs” will bark by transmitting data whenever activity on the base perimeter is potentially nefarious. 

The digital-twin technology also will be linked to gunshot-detection sensors. Within the sensors, 5G will enhance precision as to where shots are coming from, since the networks can handle much more data and at much faster speeds. “It gives a much better real-time picture for our first responders,” Melancon said.

The sensor networks, which are being developed in partnership with private companies, will increase the precision and amount of data that can be used. Current wireless networks are unable to transmit the amount of data needed to create the fully digitized operating picture. 5G will further support the speed and scale needed to accomplish missions.  

Melancon said that modernization on the bases continues to show positive results. The Air Force has several bases that operate 5G testing, but Tyndall has been selected to be a “smart base of the future,” following the damage of hurricane Michael in 2018.