Specially configuring 5G cell towers could enable the military to create an imaging sensor for surveillance

Nov. 2, 2021
Radar uses frequencies from 400 MHz to 36 GHz, so it’s not as though the millimeter wave frequencies of 28 GHz and 39 Ghz are a dramatic departure.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense are funding research into the possible use of 5G wireless communications as a radar-like surveillance imaging sensor. Space Explored reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

2 Nov. 2021 -- 5G is the latest iteration of the cellular network. The technology, which makes use of much higher frequencies, can transmit data significantly faster than the previous version, as high as 4 gigabits per second. The high frequency of the very high-speed millimeter wave 5G means that it doesn’t take much for the signal to be blocked, and cell towers need to be installed at a higher density.

Radar works by transmitting radio waves and then measuring how they bounce back. How long it takes for the radio waves to return is relative to the distance of the object from which the waves bounce. Using direction waves in a narrow beam, and spinning the antenna, helps determine the direction of objects 360 degrees around the object.

Radar has the advantage of not being limited by ambient light and working over long distances, so it can be used as a sort of vision at night or in other situations with limited visibility, such as heavy fog or smoke. The use of a 5G network as what the researchers refer to as a millimeter wave camera will enable the devices to operate similarly to an infrared camera, seeing through fog as they facilitate high-speed communications.

Related: Navy and Boeing to apply passive millimeter wave imaging technology to persistent surveillance and perimeter security

Related: DARPA asks industry to develop G-band RF and microwave enabling technologies for communications and sensing

Related: What 5G means to the military

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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