Intel on Monday shared that it's working with Lockheed Martin to build special 5G base stations that will help the US Defense Department securely communicate across air, sea, land, space and other domains. The new collaboration builds on a decade-long partnership between Intel and Lockheed Martin, and it demonstrates the way Intel is ramping up its efforts to build industry-specific 5G innovations.
"When you think about what's happening, we're using 5G phones to connect over 5G networks. But we're also starting to see 5G utilized across many different industries and enterprises," Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice president at Intel, said to ZDNet. "Lockheed Martin is a great example, but we're also partnering with industrial automation and retail companies, as well as different cities around the world to implement 5G -- supporting cities becoming safer and more secure."
Specifically, Lockheed Martin integrates Intel software and hardware into its 5G.MIL Hybrid Base Station. The base station acts as a multi-network gateway for communications between military personnel and current and emerging platforms like satellites, aircraft, ships and ground vehicles. It will enable interoperability between 5G networks, NextG networks and operational DOD networks.
The base station will leverage Intel's FlexRAN software reference architecture, which essentially allows Lockheed Martin to bring 5G to the edge to deliver new computing capabilities. It's a 5G RAN reference software stack that Intel builds and provides to enable 5G base stations on Intel architecture. Lockheed Martin is also using Intel's Smart Edge software solution, which is a hyper-converged edge computing platform that allows the customer to support multiple applications.
The US military is making significant investments in a wide range of new and emerging technologies, including 5G and next-gen networks. Under a 5-year, $1.7 billion congressional directive, the department is implementing a "DOD 5G to Next G" campaign to fund advancements in 5G technology maturation.
Intel and Lockheed Martin have worked together before to support military connectivity. In late 2021, for instance, the companies used Lockheed Martin's 5G-enabled ground vehicles to demonstrate how hardened security and 5G.MIL capabilities in cloud computing make military personnel safer.