Quantum technologies in defence & security

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+  In the defence and security environment, two applications will have particularly significant implications in the near- to mid-term.

While quantum computing has received most of the hype around quantum technologies, a whole world of quantum sensing and quantum communication is out there, which is just as fascinating and promising.


+  Firstly, quantum sensing. Quantum sensors have some promising military applications. For example, quantum sensors could be used to detect submarines and stealth aircraft, and quantum sensors could be used for Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT). Such ‘quantum PNT devices’ could be used as reliable inertial navigation systems, which enable navigation without the need for external references such as GPS. This would be a game-changing capability for underwater navigation on submarines, for instance, but also as a back-up navigation system for above-water platforms in case of GPS signal loss.

+  Secondly, the ‘quantum threat’ posed by quantum computing. As mentioned in the previous section, the factorisation of integers is one type of problem that quantum computers can solve particularly efficiently. Most of our digital infrastructure and basically anything we do online – whether that is video conferencing, sending e-mails or accessing our online bank account – is encrypted through cryptographic protocols based on the difficulty of solving these kinds of integer factorisation problems (e.g. the RSA algorithm). While practically usable quantum computers still need to be developed, the quantum algorithm to solve these problems and to decrypt our digital communication, i.e. Shor’s algorithm, has already been invented in 1994 and is waiting for a quantum computer capable of running it.

Source:  NATO REVIEW.  Michiel van Amerongen,  Quantum technologies in defence & security…

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