Nations & militaries vie for growing quantum cryptography market
(NationalDefenseMag) Countries such as the United States, China, Russia, India and Germany are in a quantum arms race that will transform the face of the defense sector. A new era will emerge where those that have advanced military technology will come out on top. The competition to claim dominance of quantum technology has begun a new tech war among the world’s top military powers.
Meanwhile, China has taken huge strides in quantum cryptology by extensively investing in the technology. For example, the U.S. military has been using stealth technology in its aircraft for decades. However, this advantage is now under threat. In November 2018, China’s Electronics Technology Group Corp., which is the nation’s largest defense electronics company, launched a prototype radar that claims it can detect stealth aircraft in flight. The radar uses quantum technology and quantum physics to detect aircrafts’ locations even in stealth mode.
Governments in India and China are ramping up research initiatives to develop the technology. A September 2018 study of China’s quantum strategy by the Center for a New American Security stated that the People’s Liberation Army is increasing its efforts to integrate quantum cryptography into the military by recruiting quantum specialists and setting up joint quantum lab universities.
Likewise, India has joined the quest to adopt quantum cryptography in its defense sector. The Indian government announced in its 2020 budget an outlay of $1.06 billion for a period of five years for the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications, which is under the Department of Science and Technology.
Startups seeking a piece of the burgeoning market are popping up all over the world.
Arqit, a U.K.-based quantum technology startup, recently announced that it would begin delivering and tracking quantum encryption keys via two quantum key distribution satellites that are scheduled to be launched in 2023.
QNu Labs has become the first company in India to offer quantum secure devices. In May 2021, it announced the launch of a new quantum key distribution system, which has a range of around 100 kilometers. The company also launched a quantum random number generator chip called Ikaria.
New advances and research in quantum cryptography have the potential to trigger a new race to supremacy. Surging interest and investment in the development of quantum cryptography across the globe will drive the applications of quantum technology over the coming decade.
To gain supremacy, allied militaries are likely to invest more in emerging startups as well as big companies for the development and application of quantum cryptography in the military sector. Increasing research in this field is helping countries better understand the potential and unique risks that will crop up in the defense sector.