AFCEA TechNet Expo provides a glimpse into new trends in defence technology

By Mark Barrett, CCO, Blu Wireless, and Macy Summers, President and CEO, Blu Wireless, Inc.


This week we’ve had the privilege of attending AFCEA Europe’s TechNet Expo and Forum in Brussels. After the lull in in-person events due to the pandemic, we have really enjoyed meeting people working across the defence and security sector at this highly regarded industry event.

Attended by Brussels-based NATO and EU institutions, TechNet International provides a neutral ground between military, academia, government, and the industry that serves them, enabling expert conversations and hands-on experiences. And this year was no exception.

Newest technologies for the defence sector

This year’s theme focused on gaining and maintaining a technological advantage for the defence and public security services. The two-day conference featured the newest technologies and solutions, including our own ground-breaking tactical wireless technology.

In contrast to commercial networks, tactical military networks require secure and flexible wireless technology, that can still operate if one section of the network fails. IEEE 5G wireless mesh networks, based on open mmWave standards, offer the flexibility, security and reliability needed to enable a wide range of use cases in naval, space, air and land forces to deliver next generation ‘gigabit’ speed to the tactical edge. Not only does it meet current demand, but IEEE 5G wireless is also enabling new use cases for tactical 5G networks, such as AI-driven and rapid deployable Command Posts.

The AFCEA event also underlined the importance of emerging technologies with speakers presenting the latest developments in data analysis, AI, cyber, quantum computing and of course data communications – where 5G networks are enabling all of the above applications.

Keynote speakers from NATO and the EU Defence Agency also emphasised the need for enhanced collaboration between defence agencies and users within the industry to leverage COTS (Commercial Off the Shelf) solutions which can be rapidly adapted for defence applications. This has never been more important given the capabilities of near peer adversaries as we see today in the conflict in Ukraine.

Next-generation wireless technology vital to providing security and reliability in complex environments

At the event, Mark presented on tactical wireless communications for defence. He explained how, through using its next generation mmWave technology, Blu Wireless can ensure secure and reliable multi-gigabit connectivity in complex environments on the battlefield.

He also explained how 5G mmWave technology is vital to meet the demand for real-time access to high-resolution video, and other sensor data, for improved tactical awareness.

During the trial, 5G mmWave systems were interfaced with the networking systems of land vehicles and the set up was then tested in a variety of simulated battlefield scenarios. This showed we could provide 360˚ communications coverage via mesh networking to effectively deliver undisrupted gigabit communications links between vehicles.

We are really pleased to have met so many of our peers and colleagues at TechNet and are looking forward to upcoming industry events.

If you would like to find out more about our expertise in the defence sector and how we can help you deliver force protection, please contact us.

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