Michael Hayduk, deputy director of the information directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), said AFRL has launched several initiatives focused on advancing quantum information science, Nextgov reported Wednesday.
He said the lab awarded 23 Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II contracts worth approximately $35 million to 15 small businesses in December 2020 for projects spanning AFRL’s four QIS technical areas: quantum computing, quantum sensing, quantum timing and quantum communications and networking.
“The best-case scenario is some of those companies that we funded, say, in the quantum sensing area or quantum timing area, we can see the technologies being further developed with this STTR award—and then really going into things like the RIMPAC demonstration, as well,” Hayduk said.
AFRL plans to work with the Office of Naval Research to test QIS technologies with the Five Eyes – an intelligence alliance composed of the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. – for the RIMPAC 2022 naval exercise. The event is expected to combine electric field sensors, radiometers, gravitational sensors and other components with clocks.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge for 2022. These technologies are still being developed in the lab. But by being able to think ahead, figuring out how you can engineer them, organize them, make them fieldable, will give us really good insight at 2022 RIMPAC,” Hayduk said. “And then we expect in 2024 to really further refine the technologies and really make steady improvements."