US Ignite Launches Technology Pilot Program for 5G Living Lab at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

The $4 million initiative, funded through the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC) Pacific, will advance research on automated vehicles, IoT communications, and more

WASHINGTON – January 28, 2021 – US Ignite today announces the launch of a new technology pilot program built for the 5G Living Lab at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego. The $4 million initiative, funded through the Office of Naval Research and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, is powered by Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network and will support multiple pilot projects aimed at improving military base operations through technology innovation. Of the first two projects, one will use the Verizon network through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to offload data from an automated package-delivery shuttle. The second will track the development of four finalist applications selected in a recent 5G pitch competition, culminating in a demonstration event for U.S. Marine Corps and Department of Defense officials.

“Military bases, like smart cities, are a crucial testing ground for new sensor-driven technologies, particularly as we upgrade the nation’s wireless networks to 5G,” said Nick Maynard, Chief Operating Officer for US Ignite. “We have an opportunity at Miramar not only to experiment with systems to improve overall safety and efficiency on base, but also to help develop a framework of best practices that will serve smart bases and smart communities across the country.”

MCAS Miramar is part of the first wave of military bases deploying 5G networks. Through a partnership with Verizon, the base is fast tracking deployment of 5G and 4G small cells to supplement 4G LTE macro cells already in place. The upgraded wireless network serves as the foundation for the 5G Living Lab at Miramar, making it possible to experiment with digitally connected infrastructure to improve operational resiliency.

“We can create a smarter, more connected military base by working collaboratively across the public and private sector, which is why our partnerships with US Ignite and Verizon are so critical,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Newell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge Director and 5G Living Lab Lead. “Through the 5G Living Lab at Miramar, we expect to develop technologies that benefit: military operations, the private sector forging new business models around 5G services, and the public we serve.”

“Since Verizon and Miramar announced the first-ever 5G Ultra Wideband deployment on a military base last July, the NIWC Pacific team has created a true testbed for innovation,” said Andrés Irlando, Senior Vice President and President, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Leaders across the Department of Defense understand the mission-critical role 5G plays in unlocking innovation for the military, and this new pilot program will accelerate the research to help bring it all to life.”

US Ignite has begun work on both of the initial pilot projects for the MCAS Miramar 5G Living Lab. Team members are designing a route map and finalizing operational details for package delivery service on base using an Olli automated shuttle. Finalists from the recent 5G pitch competition – hosted by the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) in partnership with NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge and NIWC Pacific – are working on prototype demonstrations of their 5G applications as part of a process facilitated by US Ignite to present the new technology at multiple stages of development to military officials.

Additional pilot projects are planned for 2021, including an effort to connect solar cells on base to the local 5G network. US Ignite will also partner with the University of California San Diego for future data analysis work related to transportation and energy projects.

NIWC Pacific contracted with US Ignite to run the 5G Living Lab pilot program located at MCAS Miramar based on proven technical and project management capabilities. US Ignite has demonstrated its experience through efforts that include: leading a broad portfolio of connected communities in testing applications and services powered by advanced networks; overseeing the development and deployment of multiple city-scale wireless testbeds; and implementing new automated vehicle technology at the United States Army installation at Fort Carson, Colorado.

For more information, visit the Miramar project page on the US Ignite website.



About US Ignite
US Ignite is a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. We work to guide communities into the connected future, create a path for private sector growth, and advance technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. For more information, visit