The US Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking private partners for a project to launch 5G prototypes at military sites.

Through the project, the DoD intends to incorporate commercial 5G technologies into military communications networks.

The department is planning to release a draft request for proposals (RFP) next month to invite private firms for large-scale experiments to test 5G technologies for military use.

Initial experimentation is set to be undertaken at four US military installations.

The draft RFP will seek feedback from private companies in the industry, which will inform the creation of a final RFP.

The final RFP for the programme is expected to be issued in December.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress 19 in Los Angeles, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Lisa Porter said: “History is replete with examples of the DoD partnering with the private sector to foster innovation and collaboratively bring leap-ahead technology to the forefront.

“The DoD wants our American industry to lead in 5G. A strong American economy is vital to our national security. We will never let up on our commitment to continuously innovate with our partners in the private sector, as well as with our partners across the government.”

The companies will help the DoD establish a spectrum sharing testbed to test the viability of 5G in congested environments with high-power, mid-band radars.

The programme also includes the integration of augmented reality and virtual reality into mission planning and training, as well as creating smart warehouses to improve military logistics operations.

In a media release, the DoD said: “Proposed projects should demonstrate innovative prototypes and approaches to employing new commercial technologies that enhance military capabilities and speed 5G deployment.”

The department hopes to conduct an Industry Day before issuing the final RFP.