IonQ’s unveiling of two new quantum computer models last week grabbed most of the headlines, but the same day CEO Peter Chapman drew back the curtain on Forte Enterprise and Tempo, IonQ also announced an expanded relationship with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) for deployment of two barium-based trapped ion quantum computing systems for quantum networking research and application development.
The arrangement will be worth $25.5 million to IonQ, and it comes almost exactly one year after IonQ struck an original $13.4 million deal with AFRL. The new agreement between IonQ and AFRL also was announced just a few days after AFRL, which has been actively and aggressively engaged in quantum computing research for several years, announced a five-year deal to use Rigetti Computing’s quantum foundry services.
The new contract with IonQ call for the company to deliver and set up systems at AFRL’s location in Rome, New York, which has been a previous beneficiary of federal funding for quantum research.
“AFRL is seeing incredible achievements on trapped ion quantum systems to enable and grow US quantum technology, the innovation occurring on the front lines by industry will bring revolutionary technologies to our war fighters,” said Michael Hayduk, Deputy Director, Air Force Research Laboratory, Information Directorate. Hayduk has been a frequent speaker at previous IQT events.
Members of Congress from IonQ’s home state of Maryland (It’s based in College Park Maryland) praised the expanded relationship.
“I applaud the Air Force for its work to advance quantum technology and its applications as they relate to our national security. Quantum computing is sure to be a game-changing field that will yield critically important technologies,” said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). “We cannot afford to find ourselves behind China when it comes to the research and development efforts to enhance military capabilities on the battlefield. This partnership will leverage the Air Force’s resources and brightest minds to ensure the United States continues to make great strides in quantum technology and I was proud to help secure the necessary funding.”
“Quantum computing is sure to play a key role in the future of our economy, our global competitiveness, our national security, and so much more. That’s why I was glad to support federal participation in this public-private partnership between the Air Force and Maryland-based IonQ to facilitate their work in building quantum systems that will help safeguard our nation against emerging security threats. I will keep working to bring investments to Maryland that position our state and our nation to be at the forefront of advanced technologies,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
IonQ’s Chapman added, “As IonQ’s systems approach 64 algorithmic qubits (#AQ 64) and usher in the era of enterprise-grade quantum computing, we are committed to supporting the nation’s security interests. This partnership will significantly help advance U.S. defense technologies as quantum computers increasingly become a prevalent centerpiece of national computing stacks. This agreement with AFRL will advance quantum communications, networking, and computing, while continuing our progress from basic research to directly supporting agency missions.”
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.