Aircraft carrier to trial quantum technology on Arctic exercise

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet Storyline: HMS Prince of Wales

The world’s first atomic clock of its kind has been fitted to Britain’s biggest warship to help ensure pinpoint accuracy wherever she goes.

Aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales received the state-of-the-art piece of quantum technology before sailing for Norway on Monday to take part in the largest military exercise in a generation in the Arctic.

The technology – about the size of a typical laptop – provides a highly-accurate time signal which will allow the ship’s complex combat systems to synchronise should the more traditional GPS signal fail.

Time signals are crucial for warships and having precise information helps the ship’s company stay safe while at sea on operations.

But relying on one system such as GPS can cause problems should it break or be unavailable so the introduction of the quantum technology gives a reliable back-up.

The Royal Navy worked closely alongside BP and Teledyne e2v, a Teledyne UK company, to adapt the quantum technology for use on HMS Prince of Wales.

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Wallace RM, of the Royal Navy Office of the Chief Technology Officer, said: “The Royal Navy, BP and Teledyne have shown that bringing customers, industry and experts together can accelerate sovereign technology for the benefit of the country.

“Putting leading-edge quantum equipment into the front line is a game changer for the UK.”

Accelerating the use of an atomic clock comes as the Royal Navy looks to become less reliant on GPS and is the first time this technology has been used on a surface ship.

Achieving a huge reduction in size, the system has the potential to be used by other ships in the Fleet as well as in day sacks carried by the Royal Marines Commando Force.

Putting leading-edge quantum equipment into the front line is a game changer for the UK.

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Wallace RM