Allied Commander Transformation (ACT) and the Latvian Ministry of Defence signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to allow NATO to use the Latvian National Armed Forces’ state-of-the-art 5G test site. During the signing of the Memorandum, Vice Admiral Guy Robinson remarked, “In signing this agreement, NATO will have the opportunity to validate new concepts and develop requirements in an operational environment that will support NATO’s Digital Transformation and Multi-Domain Operations ambitions.”
ACT is planning to conduct an operational technology exploration event at the 5G test site in Ādaži, Latvia, in the latter part of October 2023 that will explore the potential of the Alliance’s R&D initiatives as well as Ādaži’s tactical 5G capabilities. In doing so, this event will see the use of virtual and augmented reality, unmanned vehicles, sensors, and applications within a tactical 5G bubble. It will also see the Alliance test the ability of 5G technologies to enhance the delivery of telehealth services to NATO and national military personnel. By testing the novel capabilities of the next generation of telecommunications networks, Allied Command Transformation will demonstrate how 5G’s ability to provide ultra-reliable and low-latency connections can provide additive capabilities to NATO Communication and Information Systems. It will also demonstrate the use and benefit of 5G technologies in enhancing the awareness, agility, and lethality of NATO’s forces in future conflicts, driving the Alliance’s Digital Transformation and transition to Multi-Domain Operations.
Latvia is uniquely situated to enable the testing of operational 5G technology, having hosted Allied Command Transformation’s first operational 5G experiment in November 2022. This experiment saw augmented and virtual reality software be integrated with 5G mobile telecommunications technologies and concluded with a test at Ādaži. As noted by the Latvian Minister of Defence, Ms Ināra Mūrniece, “Latvia has developed great innovation capabilities. We accommodate globally recognized expert teams with a wide spectrum of competencies, as well as highly developed infrastructure for testing future command and control solutions. By combining our expertise with NATO’s vision, I am convinced that we can demonstrate the transformative power of 5G technology in enhancing both military and civilian operations.”
In preparation for the event this fall, the NATO Next Generation Communications Technologies Event Planning Session was held in Riga, Latvia, from June 27-29, 2023. Organized by the Latvian Ministry of Defence, in collaboration with Latvia’s National Armed Forces and Latvian Mobile Telephone, the planning session gathered an extensive team of experts to refine the upcoming technology event’s scenario and technical execution. They also met with Allied Command Transformation’s event lead and technical team, visited the Ādaži 5G military testbed to inspect the physical infrastructure available for the experiment, and conducted system interconnectivity tests.
The planning event took place at the headquarters of LMT – a Latvian mobile operator and 5G innovator. Ministry of Defence has partnered with LMT for the development of a 5G test environment for military applications. It has already been reported that in 2022 a cooperation agreement on the development of “5G technology for military applications” was signed between the Ministry of Defence and LMT.