Push to Increase 5G Protection Would Price USAF At Least $2 Billion, Brown Says

The sale to business entities of the three.3-3.45 gigahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum—referred to as the S-band—would price the Division of the Air Power properly upwards of $2 billion, Chief of Employees Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Chief of Area Operations Gen. B. Likelihood Saltzman advised the Senate Armed Providers Committee this week.

Telecommunications firms looking for to develop their 5G enterprise, and a few members of Congress, are urging the Federal Communications Fee to public sale off entry to the S-band, after a invoice to allow it died within the final session of Congress. Related auctions for different components of the spectrum have generated billions of {dollars} for the federal government in latest yr.

Navy leaders proceed to balk, nonetheless, saying the lack of that a part of the spectrum would severely compromise their operations.

“There’s quite a lot of weapon techniques that function inside that band,” Brown advised the SASC on Might 2. “I’ll simply provide you with one instance: our C-130 station protecting [equipment].

“If that band was truly moved and we needed to redesign, it’s going to price roughly about $2 billion, only for that one platform. And we’ve got quite a lot of platforms that function inside … the S-band, so it’s important that we perceive the influence” of its loss to business use, Brown mentioned.

The C-130 system Brown referred to is the AN/APN-243, which permits the plane to fly in formation in blackout situations. The system supplies extremely correct altitude and course info, in addition to proximity warnings to forestall the plane from colliding within the absence of visible cues. It permits as much as 36 plane to fly in tight formation in zero visibility.

There could be nonetheless different system redesigns required if the Air Power misplaced entry to the S-band, Brown added, although he didn’t specify them.

Saltzman, requested so as to add the Area Power perspective, mentioned “that specific band is a radar band that permits us to look into deep house.”

Specifically, the Area Power is growing a radar in that band to reinforce its house area consciousness, Saltzman mentioned.

“If we weren’t ready to make use of that piece of spectrum, not solely would we lose the time that we’ve already invested—[and] as a lot as a number of hundred million {dollars} that we’ve already put into growth—however it might additionally imply that we’ve got to make use of a unique portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which isn’t as succesful in figuring out and discriminating capabilities in deep house,” he defined.

Brown and Saltzman aren’t the one army leaders to supply warnings a couple of potential S-band sale. Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, advised lawmakers in March that “a number of platforms” that he depends on could be considerably harmed by the change.

These embody “maritime homeland protection techniques, airborne early warning platforms [and] ground-based early warning platforms that allow me to supply risk warning, assault evaluation and defend from probably airborne [threats],” VanHerck mentioned.

The Navy’s Aegis air protection radar system makes use of the S-Band, and assistant secretary of protection for house coverage John Plumb, advised Home lawmakers in March that redesigning Aegis would price in extra of $120 billion. The Aegis is taken into account to be one of many solely risk detection and monitoring radars able to recognizing hypersonic missiles.

In a March 16 report, the Congressional Analysis Service agreed that permitting business entry to S-Band would impose massive prices on the army companies.

“Whereas an public sale of the section for business use might drive wi-fi growth and generate important revenues,” the CRS mentioned, “technical consultants assert that reallocation of the band from federal to nonfederal use would require complicated and high-cost modifications to DOD techniques and would have an effect on DOD operations.”

A invoice handed within the Home final yr, the “Spectrum Innovation Act,” would have allowed telecom firms like AT&T and Verizon to purchase S-band entry at public sale. A corresponding Senate invoice by no means handed, and the invoice wasn’t included within the fiscal 2023 federal appropriations invoice.