The first 5G military test site in Europe has been unveiled by the Latvian National Armed Forces in collaboration with mobile network innovator LMT. This marks the first such 5G military test site in Europe.
The test site is located in Adazi Military Base, which is also the location for the Canadian-led NATO battlegroup. The test site has a functioning 5G base station and 5G coverage throughout the site, making it possible to test and create new generation mobile technologies.
The test site will allow for developing and experimenting with various sensors, defense systems, and platforms, including unmanned solutions, thus accelerating the technological development of military applications and promoting the R&D of defence innovations in NATO countries.
The first innovations up for testing will be virtual and augmented reality glasses for medical training, support systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, and computer vision and sensor solutions for the National Guard, all of which are made in Latvia. One of the most impressive of these solutions is a training program for military personnel in a virtual environment, using a VR program created by Exonicus, together with the LightSpace Technologies AR headset, which is made in Latvia. Other organizations involved in testing include SRC Brasa, who are testing their autonomous soldier support platform, which operates via autonomous vehicles, and the Latvian National Guard, who were testing computer vision sensors for object recognition.
“Living in the digital era, we see that the influx of innovative technologies in the national security industry is a natural and inevitable progression. But the development of technologies is only instrumental if we use it smartly and responsibly to support the well-being and safety of people. In this domain, we are way ahead of the curve and we are setting a good example to the world, even more so because the technological solution is provided by a Latvian company. This demonstrates our ability to implement major projects that are crucial to national defense and that we can be invaluable international partners,“Defence Minister of Latvia Artis Pabriks pointed out.
5G technology will lay the groundwork for new applications of AI and machine learning in the area of autonomous supply, improving the link between commanders and soldiers on the battlefield and ensuring lower network latency. The speed of the network operations will allow for massive real-time data transmission, reducing the size and weight of digital military platforms, including those that soldiers carry individually.
“As LMT is now taking the lead in creating the new 5G testing environment, we would like to create an ecosystem and opportunity for interested companies and scientists to develop future solutions that the National Armed Forces could test in practice and possibly later use in the 5G network. Taking into account the immense potential of 5G, it can significantly accelerate the development of the military tech sector,”said the president of LMT Juris Binde.
The launch occurred during the two-day 5G Techritory conference, which brought together over 200 speakers and 3000 participants from around the world to discuss 5G rollout in Europe.
Latvia is represented in two interconnected NATO 5G research projects, under the leadership of LMT and with the support of the Ministry of Defence. Those are: NIAG study 5th Generation International Mobile Telecommunications for NATO Operations and NATO STO study 5G Technologies Application to NATO Operations. In addition, Latvia is participating in European Defence Fund project iMUGS (integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System) where modular unmanned ground systems are developed and 5G network tests are planned in relation to the autonomy of military platforms (tanks and drones).