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UK Completes Flight Tests for Secure Quantum Navigation Technology

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UK Completes Flight Tests for Secure Quantum Navigation Technology

The United Kingdom demonstrated the security of advanced quantum-based navigation systems during recent commercial flight trials.

Quantum technology firm Infleqtion, in partnership with BAE Systems and QinetiQ, completed the trials at the Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site in England. The companies used the Tiqker optical atomic clock and an ultracold-atom-based quantum system on a modified RJ100 airborne technology demonstrator aircraft provided by QinetiQ.

The trials mark the first time quantum navigation technology developed in the U.K. has been validated in flight. 

“The fact that this technology has flown for the first time in British skies is further proof of the U.K. as one of the world leaders on quantum,” said Science Minister Andrew Griffith.

Quantum-based positioning, navigation and timing provide a more secure alternative to current navigation systems. Unlike GPS, the technology is resistant to jamming, ensuring that aircraft take off and land without disruption.

According to Henry White, BAE Systems’ sensing technology lead, the technology can potentially advance the development of next-generation combat air systems.

“These trials are an important step forward in developing quantum technology that could ultimately offer a significant military advantage,” he said.

The trials were part of a wider effort from UK Research and Innovation, a government funding agency, to move the nation away from spoofing and jamming-prone GNSS and GPS for location, navigation and timing data. 

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