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Quantum Next Generation 2021: Quantum Camouflage

27 July 2021
Quantum Next Generation 2021 promo image

Army is seeking Australia’s next generation of Quantum Technologists for Quantum Next Generation 2021: Quantum Camouflage.

Army is Calling for Proposals to Quantum Next Generation 2021 (QNG21). QNG21 is the next step in the Army Quantum Technology Roadmap and the first in a regular series of technology challenges targeting Australia’s talented postgraduate students, early career researchers and early-stage start-up entrepreneurs.

Army understands that this next generation will ultimately drive the growth of Australia’s quantum industry and deliver Army the sovereign quantum advantage it desires. QNG21 aims to embolden, orientate, network and develop this next generation whilst also solving an important Army problem.

The QNG21 challenge is to invent a means to conceal our soldiers from the looming threat of detection by ultra-precise quantum sensors. Specifically, countermeasure technologies that interfere with adversarial quantum magnetometers that are seeking to detect the magnetic signatures of Army’s equipment, vehicles, weapons etc.

This threat posed by quantum magnetometers was identified by the subterranean challenge of the Quantum Technology Challenge 2021 (QTC21). There, teams employed prototype quantum magnetometers to perform a range of detection demonstrations, including rifle-sized objects passing through sewer-like tunnels and armored vehicle-sized objects passing through 85 m deep reinforced tunnels. Whilst significant work is still required to refine, miniaturise and harden these prototypes so that they may be integrated into deployable sensor systems (such as ground-based arrays and UXVs), their demonstration at QTC21 established the capabilities of this new technology and its implications for future land warfare.

Tackling the QNG21 challenge will not only lead to a countermeasure to adversarial quantum magnetometers, but also to the improved design and protection of Army’s quantum magnetometers against adversarial countermeasures.

QNG21 participants are asked to form teams of two-four people, submit a short two-page proposal by 16 August 2021 (including a letter of support from their supervisor/ convener), undergo a short selection process, develop and demonstrate the concept of their solution, and deliver a solution report and a pitch at the QNG21 Pitchfest in December 2021. The Pitchfest will be held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) Summer Meeting at the Queensland University of Technology (remote contingencies available).

All participants will be rewarded by coaching sessions with Army personnel, free registration to the AIP Summer Meeting, and professional filming and publication of their pitch.  A great way of building defence and industry networks and advertising what they can do to their future employers, customers, funding agencies and investors.

The top-ranked team(s) will receive special invitations and admission to the Army Robotics Expo 2022, Quantum Technology Challenge 2022 (QTC22) and the Army Innovation Day 2022, as well as an invitation to submit a proposal for funding to further develop their solution and demonstrate it as a special entrant into QTC22 (see the video of QTC21). It is a significant privilege to be invited to those events and the funding is a major opportunity for participants to advance their ideas whilst building a track record that supports potential; future Defence funding.

Army is seeking diverse and maximum response to this Call. Army encourages all interested next generation talent (regardless of level or discipline) to pull together a team and submit a proposal. Be bold!

See links above for more information. Questions about QNG21 should be directed to ahq-lc.tenders@defence.gov.au.

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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