Lockheed Martin has reached an agreement to use 5G open RAN software from Radisys to support relocatable 5G base stations used in military tactical networks.
It’s going to be integrated in Lockheed Martin’s “5G.MIL” products. The moniker relates to programs the defense company is pursuing as it looks to leverage commercial 5G technology to integrate for adaptive and interoperable networks used by the military.
Work that Radisys (which was acquired by India’s Reliance Industries) and Lockheed Martin are collaborating on specifically involves developing capabilities for 5G-powered wireless relay – known as integrated access backhaul (IAB) – to support mission critical communications for aerospace and defense.
IAB uses 5G radios and spectrum for backhaul between sites without needing fiber to all of them, making deployments easier, especially when a lot of bandwidth is available, and less expensive. For the military it’s particularly useful for operations in places where wired connections aren’t viable to deploy or too costly and as an alternative to fiber so base stations can be more easily relocated in the field.
“With key collaborators such as Radisys, we can accelerate development and deployment of 5G.MIL network capabilities that benefit our defense and national security customers,” said Dan Rice, vice president of 5G.MIL Programs at Lockheed Martin, in a statement. “Resilient mesh communications create a network effect that raises the deterrence capability of U.S. and coalition forces, while improving battlefield effectiveness, should deterrence fail.”
The Connect 5G Software Suite from Radisys is compliant with 3GPP Release 16, which addressed IAB. Lockheed Martin said the software delivers enhanced functionality, capacity, coverage, latency, mobility and reliability to handle diverse 5G applications.
“Lockheed Martin’s expertise building systems and platforms that operate in the toughest environments matches our decades-long commitment to connect the furthest stretches of the world together,” said Munish Chhabra, head of Software and Services Business at Radisys. “By providing access to our industry-leading Connect RAN protocol software that is compliant to 3GPP specification and O-RAN architectures, we are helping to enable Lockheed Martin to develop 5G.MIL solutions aligned to their customers’ specific requirements.”
Monday marked Lockheed Martin’s latest announcement for military-focused 5G efforts. In November the company inked an agreement with Verizon to collaborate on 5G.MIL technologies for the Department of Defense and establish a joint R&D lab framework to test solutions. The partners also demoed a private 5G network at Lockheed Martin Space’s 5G Test Range in Colorado, showing interoperability between Lockheed’s open tactical gateways and Verizon’s private network on-site 5G tech.
The same month it teamed up with Keysight Technologies on a testbed where Lockheed Martin assesses cyber security vulnerabilities across 5G components and interfaces using Keysight integrated products.
Lockheed’s focused on both terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks using 5G for military. It previously worked with U.S-based Radisys in 2019 to develop a new LTE-over-Satellite system.
More recently, the company in March announced a strategic interest agreement with Omnispace, a startup looking to build a satellite hybrid global 5G network combining non-geostationary satellite constellation and capacity form telecom operator’s ground networks. Omnispace and Lockheed said they would evaluate jointly developing a global space-based 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN).
The aerospace and defense giant is aiming to help enable and advance the DoD’s warfighting concepts and 5G.MIL aligns with the strategy Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet laid out, which aims to bring lessons in the latest technologies from the commercial tech sector to defense industrial users. Taiclet joined Lockheed in 2020 from the world of telecom, after serving as American Tower CEO since 2003.