A game-changer for the defence industry


Once fully developed, atomic clocks, a key research area for the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, will prove to be a game-changer for the defence industry. They will have a huge advantage over existing oscillator technology in terms of reducing noise, thus being incredibly accurate in detecting small, slow moving objects such as drones.

Our work in distributed radar systems – using optical clocks – will also transform the defence sector, as they will enable the detection of stealth objects. Our consideration to manufacturing and practical application means that the end-user products will work better, cheaper and faster than current technology.

Michael Christie, BAE Systems, Director of Future Combat Air Systems: “The kind of things that will emerge from our collaboration with the Quantum Technology Hub are really about changing the way we’re going to do things in the future. People talk about stealth – the invisibility of aircraft – quantum sensing actually allows that to be combatted. It allows us to detect gravity. The unusual thing about sensing in the military business is that as soon as you start sensing something you send out a pulse, people can see you and so the gravitational approach allow us to do sensing without necessarily being seen by others. Because of this ability to do things differently and give ourselves an advantage over competitors, it will give the UK the ability to do something others can’t”.

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