Critical Communications

Developing a 5G-enabled digital battle network

07 April 2022
The 5G network would be one of the core modernization technologies used in the Department of Defense’s Joint All Domain Command and Control system. Source: Northrup Grumman

In a collaborative agreement, Northrop Grumman Corp. and AT&T will research and develop a digital battle network powered by a 5G network.

The collaboration will use AT&T’s 5G platform along with Northrop Grumman’s advanced missile systems with support from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

The plan is to develop a cost-effective, scalable, open architecture that will help the DoD connect distributed sensors, shooters and data from all domains, terrains and forces. The system will function much like how smart devices connect and share data.

The agreement establishes a joint research and development framework to prototype, demonstrate and test AT&T’s commercial 5G networking capabilities with Northrop Grumman’s portfolio of military technology.

The digital battle network will bring high speeds, low latency and cybersecurity protections to private 5G networks using AT&T’s 5G capabilities. This will also offer a critical capability to support the DoD’s vision for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

JADC2 is a so-called once-in-a-generation modernization of how the DoD commands its military forces. The idea is to connect sensors from all military services into a single network. The goal would be to find the optimal platform to attack a given target or the unit best able to address an emerging threat. The DoD is pursing both automation and artificial intelligence as well as new communication methods such as 5G to develop the system.

“Our collaboration with AT&T brings together some of the best capabilities in defense and commercial communications to meet the evolving requirements of JADC2,” said Ben Davies, vice president and general manager of the Networked Information Solutions division at Northrop Grumman. “The enhanced connectivity and networking of information that 5G provides are a great advantage in a military environment and will help the DoD in the development of high-performing and intuitive technologies that quickly and seamlessly share data across a myriad of secure networks.”

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