UK Tests Quantum-Power Navigation System Immune to Interference


The UK has successfully conducted a test flight of a quantum-powered navigation system that is impervious to interference from foreign entities.

According to UK authorities, this achievement represents a significant milestone in aviation, marking the inaugural flight utilizing a quantum-powered navigation system immune to jamming by foreign actors.

A consortium of quantum technology and aerospace companies carried out these pioneering trials at Boscombe Down, a military aircraft testing facility, last Thursday.

These flights utilized an atomic clock and an “ultra-cold-atom-based quantum system” designed to detect changes in motion.

The aircraft featured a quantum inertial navigation system (Q-INS) that operates independently of continuous satellite signals to update its position, unlike conventional GPS systems.

As stated by the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, this feature enhances the system’s resistance to GPS jamming effects.

Quantum-Power Navigation System

Quantum-based systems, as per the statement, “could, over time, offer one part of a larger solution… [to] ensure that the thousands of flights that take place around the world daily, proceed without disruption.”

The navigation system, developed by US quantum technology firm Infleqtion at a subsidiary in Oxford, underwent eight hours of testing aboard the Avro RJ100, a short-haul commercial flight, as reported by the Telegraph.

The UK has already committed to outfitting all its commercial aircraft with quantum navigation systems by 2030.

The introduction of quantum technology brings an additional layer of security, particularly pertinent in light of recent events. Just weeks prior, Russian interference allegedly disrupted the flight of UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps over Kaliningrad, a Russian territory bordering Poland and Lithuania.

GPS jamming, which involves the use of frequency-transmitting devices to obstruct radio communications, has impacted a significant number of civilian flights in recent months, posing a heightened risk of major accidents, according to experts cited by the Financial Times.

Quantum-Power Navigation System

Multiple Nordic and Baltic nations reported increased incidents of GPS signal interference against their commercial flights, suspected to originate from Russia.

Finland halted flights between Helsinki and Tarfu, Estonia, last month following two incidents where flights were compelled to return due to GPS jamming.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, speaking to local media, accused Russia of resorting to physical means to directly impact the daily lives of targeted countries and advocated for sanctions to deter such actions.

Although the UK’s science department acknowledges that GPS jamming is “relatively rare,” it emphasizes that advancements in quantum aviation will furnish “another layer of security” against such threats.

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.