QuantX Labs has secured $750,000 funding for an innovative research project aimed at revolutionising a secured position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability for defence applications.

The Quantum-Secured Time Transfer for Resilient PNT project will receive support from the Department of Defence, paving the way for cutting-edge advancements in PNT security.

Access to trusted PNT information is critical for defence operations. Current PNT signals, such as those provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS), are vulnerable to covert spoofing, where malicious actors can transmit false information to disrupt military activities without detection. The QuantX Labs project seeks to address this by harnessing quantum technology to guarantee the authenticity of received PNT data, making spoofing impossible.

Dr. Martin O’Connor, General Manager at QuantX Labs, emphasised the project’s importance.

“Quantum-secured time transfer offers a new level of security and accuracy for defence operations,” he said. “We are excited to embark on this research journey, which has the potential to safeguard our troops and assets in contested environments.”

This groundbreaking research project builds upon the success of a previous project supported by a Defence Innovation Partnership grant, which brought together experts from the University of Adelaide, QuantX Labs, and the Defence Science and Technology Group.

The new project encompasses several crucial objectives including demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer using entangled photons, development of a classical two-way time transfer across a free-space link and investigating the impact of loss and turbulence on both time transfer methods.

Additionally, a critical objective of this research will be to synchronize two Cryoclocks.  These oscillators, QuantX’s flagship product, are renowned as the world’s most precise clocks and are being used as the driving sources for critical radar facilities. The need for synchronisation between multiple radar sites is a key challenge for new radar architectures.

The project will culminate in a demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer over a free space optical link. This will be used to synchronize small Chip Scale Atomic Clocks that are suited for drone and satellite deployment.

QuantX Labs is working with Adelaide-based Inovor Technologies as a key partner. Inovor’s experience in space deployments will assist in the eventual deployment of the technology onto a satellite.