Think Tank (2/2024)
Source: Canva
< Back
Quantum Sensing and Future Warfare
06 Mar 2024

As part of a regular series of events that aims to highlight where emerging technologies could potentially change the character of future warfare, the Military Transformations Programme held a virtual roundtable on 6 March 2024 on the topic of “Quantum Sensing and Future Warfare.”

Quantum sensing – one of the three main categories of quantum technologies, the other two being quantum communication and quantum computing – refers to applications of quantum mechanics principles to devices measuring time, motion, and electrical/magnetic fields, among other physical properties.

In simple terms, quantum sensors can make more accurate and sensitive measurements than existing “classical” ones. Compared to quantum communication and quantum computing, quantum sensing is also more mature as a technology area and has been applied in real-world use cases for some time. A key question that was discussed in this roundtable was where this already mature technology area would yield disruptive applications that will shape possibilities for future warfare.

Potential military applications of quantum sensors include providing an alternative means for positioning, navigation, and timing that would allow operations in environments where GPS is unavailable or denied. Another major application area is in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, where quantum sensors could be used for enhanced detection of submarines and underground structures.

Some of the current limitations for quantum sensing technologies being adopted by militaries include its cost, the ability to operate reliably for extended periods of time, and the extent of miniaturisation allowing for mobile deployment.

Other issues discussed included how to bridge the gap between those buying / adopting quantum sensing technologies and those developing them, as well as whether there were any ethical issues for adopting quantum technologies, drawing on the current debate regarding artificial intelligence technologies.

The roundtable featured two speakers – Associate Professor Murray Barrett, National University of Singapore, and Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies; and Ravi Kumar, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Atomionics, Singapore. It was moderated by Manoj Harjani, Research Fellow, Military Transformations Programme, RSIS.

more info
Other Articles