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It has been announced that the British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which serves as the flagship of the Royal Navy, has been fitted with an atomic clock ahead of joint exercises with NATO (Exercise Cold Response 2022) this year off the northern coast of Norway, which will be attended by 28 countries.
NATO’s joint exercises for 2022 are an excellent example of modern military missions’ great complexity, involving 35,000 soldiers from ground, air, and sea forces.
Maintaining order can be achieved by using accurate timekeeping. A digital system can maintain nanosecond-level synchronization, if not even lower, and can control both cyber systems and military assets over long distances. While these systems can rely on GPS signals for accuracy, they are vulnerable due to the potential for disruption by a hostile power. Because of this, the Royal Navy has opted to use atomic clocks in its personal development, which will ensure accuracy and durability.
Together with Teledyne e2v, a company from the defense, science, and health industries that creates innovative components and subsystems, the British Royal Navy created a new type of atomic clock, precise enough for military purposes – and smaller than a personal computer. Despite no technical details being released about the new device, it is speculated that it will use light instead of microwaves to gain more accurate data, according to newatlas.com.
Tests of the new system will be carried out during the joint NATO exercise. It is possible that if the new technology proves itself in the exercise, more ships in the Royal Navy may benefit from it.