Top defense official tells 'Post' how Israel confronts quantum age

Date08 December 2020
Published date08 December 2020
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Head of quantum research in the Defense Ministry Directorate for Defense Research and Development Tal David told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview that NIS 1.25 billion was approved this summer and that a huge volume of quantum technology projects are moving forward despite the government budget standoff.

This is a huge jump from the NIS 100 million which was announced in December 2018, which was itself a leap forward after Israel spent years watching the US, China and others speed ahead in this race which will redefine most areas of life in the coming decades.

Quantum computers are built differently, using different materials, operate differently and, once at full speed, will achieve results that put today's computers to shame.

A major area which will be transformed is the military arena.

Major US defense reports in 2018 and 2019 cited implications not only for cracking enemy communications and better protecting internal communications, but also for everything from tracking the F-35 stealth aircraft to nuclear-powered submarines.

Without addressing specifics, David said, "it is clear also why it [quantum technology] is relevant in the military arena" and why it would be important, "to get capabilities which the enemy doesn't have."

David said that a large piece of quantum's defense applications would be with classified censors.

He discussed, for the sake of a theoretical example, how it could impact new developing laser technologies, including the ability to "teach" a laser's systems "to be more exact. It is also clear why our enemy would want to be more exact," hinting at the implications for a variety of detection and targeting issues.

More broadly he made it clear that quantum technology was superior at nearly every level to existing computer technologies in terms of its characteristics, components, systems and potential.

Also, he noted that the US has "invested in quantum for navigation, detection, precise timing and cryptography – it is clear why this matters in the military arena."

Regarding China, he said that it has the largest land quantum communications network in the world and the most advanced satellite applications of quantum technology to date.

Though currently, he said that China's satellite quantum technology was academic, David also made it clear that even within only a few years quantum satellite technology would be able to have significant real-world impacts in a variety of sectors.

Because of that, the senior defense ministry...

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