Global quantum computing solutions company IonQ has received a $13.4 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The AFRL will use IonQ’s trapped ion systems for research on quantum computing hardware as well as the creation of quantum algorithms and applications.
Quantum computing, systems, and applications may help the U.S. Air Force protect national assets, both public and private. The AFRL-IonQ agreement, which is IonQ’s most recent commercialization milestone, would represent a significant public-private partnership to participate in quantum computing.
“Trapped ion systems and their performance demonstrated by high algorithmic qubits (AQ) have some very unique properties making them one of the leading technologies in the development of quantum computing and networking capabilities,” said Michael Hayduk, Deputy Director of the Information Directorate at the Air Force Research Lab. “This contract solidifies AFRL’s long-term strategic focus in quantum information science. The partnership will accelerate critical quantum science and technology projects, benefiting the Air Force as we seek to maintain our competitive advantage and advance our national security interests.”
Quantum Computing through the Cloud
The Quantum Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, introduced by the U.S. House in 2021, signaled a renewed emphasis on the necessity for U.S. investment in quantum, both to defend against quantum-powered assaults from foreign actors and to strengthen domestic quantum computing capabilities.
The Biden-Harris administration issued directives in May 2022 to support American leadership in quantum computing, and the National Security Administration (NSA) released guidance in September on the significance of cybersecurity readiness in the face of potential adversaries working on quantum systems.
“Quantum computing is the key that we believe will unlock unforeseen efficiencies and strength in the development and deployment of U.S. defense technologies,” said Peter Chapman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at IonQ. “This area of research holds incredibly exciting promise, and we’re proud to be among the first to partner with the AFRL to further American leadership in this important space.”
IonQ’s collaboration with the AFRL is a continuation of its string of successful business and academic ventures, which over the course of the previous year alone have included research and business partnerships with Airbus, GE Research, Goldman Sachs, Hyundai, and others. Additionally, the business recently disclosed that its IonQ Aria system is now publicly accessible on Microsoft Azure Quantum, giving developers, academics, engineers, and business leaders access to quantum computing through the cloud.