US Navy, Air Force Collaborate on Quantum

Both forces plan to use IBM’s commercial quantum computers
Berenice Baker

January 17, 2023

A quantum computer
The NRL and AFRL are pooling quantum resourcesUS Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) announced this week that it had signed an agreement to exchange quantum computing expertise with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The agreement, which includes all 14 Naval Warfare Centers, gives Navy scientists access to the AFRL’s Quantum Hub, which is part of IBM’s Quantum Network that provides access to IBM’s commercial quantum computers.

They aim to explore Navy capabilities that could be enhanced with quantum computing, including operations research, quantum machine learning, quantum simulation, classical simulation and crypto-analysis. 

“As we reimagine Naval Power, we know that quantum technologies are critical to the future battlespace,” said chief of naval research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby. “This collaboration will help ensure our warfighters have the tools they need for mission success.”

NRL has established a Naval Quantum Computing Program Office (QCPO) to manage the research and oversee access to the IBM Quantum Hub.

The Naval Information

Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, which provides technical and engineering support for the U.S. Navy’s information warfare operations, will act as the co-lead, and Naval Warfare Center quantum subject matter experts will contribute expertise.

The U.S. Air Force was one of the first armed forces to announce it was researching the military potential for quantum computing, and the ARFL joined IBM’s Quantum Network in July 2019.

AFRL deputy director Michael Hayduk delivered an update at last year’s

Quantum Summit Austin

, where he announced that the use cases it is investigating include the logistics of command and control and being able to move troops, weapons and supplies efficiently.

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