Military Embedded Systems

5G deployment contracts with EchoStar/Hughes extended by DoD at military bases


March 18, 2024

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

5G deployment contracts with EchoStar/Hughes extended by DoD at military bases

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Networking and communications company EchoStar and its subsidiary Hughes announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) FutureG Office has extended its contract for the continued deployment of standalone 5G networks at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) in Hawaii and at the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) in Washington.  

According to the companies' announcment, the contract extension continues work on both networks through 2025 with additional 5G enhancements. EchoStar is a premier supporter of the use of Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) in DoD networks and recently won a $50 million National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant to build an ORAN test center.   

Hughes leads the deployments as the prime contractor, states the extension announcement, as it is integrating the latest standards-based components -- including radio access, edge cloud, and a packet processing core -- with zero trust architecture (ZTA) and global satellite connectivity working together with embedded Network Operations Capabilities (NOC) and Security Operations Capabilities (SOC). The project is using ORAN infrastructure and engineering expertise along with EchoStar's 5G spectrum. There are transport routers, switches, and firewalls from Cisco; computing infrastructure from Dell Technologies; radio access network (RAN) from JMA Wireless; edge cloud stack and Intel® Xeon® processors from Intel; and site survey and network installation services from Boingo Wireless.

Both deployments are designed to support National Security Agency (NSA) Commercial Solution for Classified (CSFC) requirements. 

"The award extension demonstrates the value of this multi-vendor solution and follows the successful launch of the 5G network at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – the first 5G ORAN at a U.S. DoD base," said Dr. Rajeev Gopal, vice president, Advanced Programs, Hughes. "Together, the NASWI and Hawaii site configurations demonstrate the power of 5G standalone ORAN networks to support increasingly automated base operations, securely and with the resilience necessary to maintain information assurance in any circumstance – holding tremendous promise for DoD applications."

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