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Sensing and imaging, communications and cryptography, and computing and simulation are some potential applications of quantum technology, according to a recent report by the Australian Army, delineating its quantum technology roadmap.
Australia’s Department of Defence has been taking steps to explore ways it can leverage quantum technology, not only for warfare but other areas too.
“Quantum technology is being and will be used in areas such as natural resources, civil engineering, pharmacology, early detection of diseases and medical research, logistics, and finance. Ultimately, quantum technology will pervade every aspect of our lives,” a Department of Defence spokesperson told zdnet.com.
Defence in fact is already starting to see the early benefits of quantum technology deployment, pointing out that it is using the cryogenic sapphire oscillator, dubbed the Sapphire Clock, which was developed by Australian researchers, to improve the operation of the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar network.
Quantum technology can be the alternative solution to GPS as it is not always reliable in complex terrain or where satellite reception is challenging, such as underwater, or in mountainous or dense urban settings. Australia’s Defence establishment currently uses GPS technology for a variety of defence activities, including precision-guided weapons, cryptography, timestamp intelligence, and synchronising distributed computer systems.
“Quantum sensing technology provides new levels of sensitivity for sensing things like magnetic fields, acceleration and gravitational fields, which can lead to new capabilities,” the Australian Defence spokesperson said.
Defence said for next year, it wants to test if quantum sensors can detect, locate, and identify electromagnetic emitters with greater precision, range, and bandwidth; see whether quantum computers can identify and classify features in signals and images more precisely and efficiently; and examine if post-quantum cryptography can be practically employed to secure communications from the threat of quantum computers.