Australian Military Investigates Quantum Communication

Department of Defense seeks proposals from industry and academia
Berenice Baker

January 25, 2023

A creative image of a lit processor in blue
Australia is seeking quantum-enhanced communications areas that may prove critical for future defense capability.Getty

The Australian Department of Defense has issued a tender for research proposals looking into quantum-enhanced communications.

Quantum-enhanced communications apply the laws of quantum physics to protect data, using the unpredictable nature of quantum states to create shared secret random numbers which cannot be duplicated, hacked or cracked.

The tender was issued by Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Group’s Quantum Research Network.

The group is seeking proposals from industry, academia and government-funded organizations that are already working in the quantum-enhanced communications areas that may prove critical for future defense capability. As the aim is to develop a sovereign capability, applicants must be from Australia or New Zealand.

The proposals should come under one of the areas: quantum-secured communication, quantum time transfer, quantum memories and repeaters, free-space quantum communications, quantum-enabled radiofrequency communications, and quantum-enhanced classical

communications.

The winning projects must have a duration of one to three years and will be awarded up to $566,000 (800,000 Australian dollars) each and be offered research support. The program is funded by the Next Generation Technologies Fund, an $850 million (1.2 billion Australian dollars) fund investing in game-changing capabilities for Australian defense.

The project is related to the Australian military’s quantum-assured position, navigation and timing science technology and research effort. The aim is to build domestic capability in quantum-enhanced communication technologies that can help armed forces operate in a GPS-denied or compromised environment. 

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