Defending against quantum-based threats

The Army wants to make sure American warfighters aren't behind the curve if and when quantum technology is operationalized.

Although practical applications of quantum physics are still over the horizon, the Army wants to make sure American warfighters aren't behind if and when such technology is operationalized.

The first phase of the Quantum Technologies for Threat Military Applications prototype project was awarded Nov. 26, using other transaction authority. EWA Warrior Services will receive just below $500,000 for global market research on current and future capabilities with a final report and recommendations for hardware and software prototypes.

The award addresses an August 2018 request for solutions, in which the Army sought a better understanding of the state of play in quantum technology and sought to identify and evaluate possible implementations of the convergence of quantum physics and electronic warfare. It also wanted to know how the nascent technology might affect  communications, sensors, navigation, precision weapons, drones, radar systems and cybersecurity.

The second, optional, phase of the effort will include development of a prototype for a "threat-representative system utilizing quantum technologies" in an operational environment that can be developed to support Army training exercises at the major combat training centers

Quantum technologies remain at a "low Technology Readiness Level," according to the assessment presented in contracting documents, but the Army is operating under the assumption that even medium TRL applications pose "potentially serious threats" to U.S. forces and coalition partners.