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DOD May Take Months to Determine 5G Safety Risks to Aircraft; Capt. Patrick Gargan Quoted

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AT&T and Verizon have started rolling out their 5G networks on the C-band spectrum and the U.S. military may take months before it can determine the potential safety risks of such networks to radar altimeters of aircraft, Defense News reported Wednesday.

Tankers, cargo planes and other military aircraft use radar altimeters to measure the distance between the plane and the ground especially when landing in adverse weather conditions. 

Capt. Patrick Gargan, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Force, said the Department of Defense is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the 5G issue and established a “Joint Interagency FiveG Radar Altimeter Interference” team to help determine 5G networks’ impact on avionics through the development of “quick reaction tests.”

Gargan noted that tests are scheduled to kick off in January, but results from such tests are not expected until late summer of 2022.

He said military services have released bulletins to fleets asking them to warn aircrews of a potential interference. A system is also being set up to facilitate reporting of possible interference.