QuantX Labs is thrilled to announce that it has secured $750,000 funding for an innovative research project aimed at revolutionizing a secured position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability for defence applications. The project, titled “Quantum-Secured Time Transfer for Resilient PNT,” will receive support from Department of Defence, paving the way for cutting-edge advancements in PNT security.

Access to trusted position, navigation, and timing information is of paramount importance for defence operations. Current PNT signals, such as those provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS), are vulnerable to covert spoofing, where malicious actors can transmit false information to disrupt military activities without detection. The “Quantum-Secured Time Transfer for Resilient PNT” project seeks to address this critical issue by harnessing quantum technology to guarantee the authenticity of received PNT data, making spoofing impossible.

This groundbreaking research project builds upon the success of a previous grant from the Defence Innovation Partnership grant, which brought together experts from the University of Adelaide, QuantX Labs, and the Defence Science and Technology Group. The new project encompasses several crucial objectives including demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer using entangled photons, development of a classical two-way time transfer across a free-space link, and investigating the impact of loss and turbulence on both time transfer methods.

Additionally, a critical objective of this research will be to synchronize two Cryoclocks.  These oscillators, QuantX’s flagship product, are renowned as the world’s most precise clocks and are being used as the driving sources for critical radar facilities. The need for synchronisation between multiple radar sites is a key challenge for new radar architectures.

The project will culminate in a demonstration of quantum-secured time transfer over a free space optical link. This will be used to synchronize small Chip Scale Atomic Clocks that are suited for drone and satellite deployment. This approach will allow us to transfer the performance of a very high-quality ground clock onto these portable platforms.  This achievement will mark a significant advancement in defence technology, providing unparalleled security and precision for PNT data.

A key partner in this work is Inovor Technologies who will assist in the eventual deployment of this technology onto a satellite.  Inovor’s experience in space deployments, particularly in interfacing complex payloads into the space craft will be key to our demonstrator mission.

Dr. Martin O’Connor, General Manager at QuantX Labs, emphasized the project’s importance, stating, “Quantum-secured time transfer offers a new level of security and accuracy for defence operations. We are excited to embark on this research journey, which has the potential to safeguard our troops and assets in contested environments.”

This project aligns perfectly with QuantX Lab’s Kairos Mission a space-based clock that aims at an alternate and sovereign PNT solution for the nation. The company is already well underway to developing a next-generation atomic clock based on optical technology for applications in space. This ground-breaking high-performance clock delivers to a multitude of applications that are of high value to numerous space end-users. This optical atomic clock and quantum secured optical network, represents first steps towards a sovereign and secure alternate architecture for a GPS-like timing and position system.

For media enquiries, please contact: Lisa Paddick, Marketing and Communications Officer, lisa.paddick@quantxlabs.com, mobile: 0418 393 996

“RavensNest is a place where ideas take flight, and inventions are translated into capability”

One of South Australia’s fastest-growing deep-tech start-up companies, QuantX Labs, has today launched a breakthrough concept in Defence innovation.

QuantX has built a collaborative workspace named, RavensNest, that occupies the first floor of the Space_Lab building within Adelaide’s innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen. RavensNest was opened today by Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro and the South Australian Premier the Hon Peter Malinauskas MP.

This new facility, a capability accelerator, will super-charge South Australia’s defence innovation ecosystem by allowing defence companies to work hand-in-glove with defence researchers, University researchers and the Australian Defence Force. The environment is designed to ensure that transformative technologies will be fast-tracked from research through to sovereign capability, answering the most urgent problems for defence by harnessing complementarity between the partners as well as delivering focus, scale and a can-do culture.

RavensNest, is named for the intelligent and quick Australian raven, especially the way that they work closely co-operatively in a team to achieve more than could be achieved individually.  This dynamic and collaborative precinct will provide the nurturing environment to ensure that ideas and inventions will take flight by drawing the best from all participants.

Currently housing staff from DST Group, Australia’s premier defence science arm, University of Adelaide researchers and QuantX Labs, we see this as the start of a very exciting development.  We welcome like-minded partners and collaborators to join us on this journey.

RavensNest is aligned with the vision of the Defence Strategic Review and the new Australian Strategic Capability Accelerator, where industry and government share the risk associated with innovating new technologies.

Critically, over the longer term, all partners in RavensNest have a commitment to see the cutting-edge technologies developed within the facility will also find their way into civilian products making everyone’s lives better.

QuantX Labs has joined forces with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) through Airbus Australia, to bolster their space knowledge and skillsets, a collaboration set to propel Australian quantum technology into space.

QuantX Labs, renowned for its ground-breaking work in quantum technology is poised to take quantum advancements to new heights through its KAIROS mission. This mission culminates in the launch into low Earth orbit and demonstration of a next-generation optical atomic clock , a project that promises to revolutionize space-based PNT (position, navigation and timing) capabilities. The optical atomic clock, which was initially developed at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing at the University of Adelaide and supported by funding from the SmartSat CRC, will now undergo crucial developments to become space-ready. This evolution will be guided by the expertise of SSTL’s proficient system engineering team and propelled by the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Demonstrator Program.

“QuantX Labs is thrilled to announce its collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), a global leader in small satellite technology and systems engineering consulting,” shared Professor Andre Luiten, Managing Director of QuantX Labs. “This collaboration adds a crucial layer of expertise to our KAIROS mission, providing confidence that we will deliver robust engineering solutions and unparalleled reliability as we venture into space.”

Clive Oates, Head of SSTL, Australia said “SSTL is delighted to be collaborating with QuantX Labs, bringing our world-renowned space engineering expertise to support QuantX Labs next-generation optical atomic clock and the KARIOS mission”.

Enrico Palermo, the Head of Australian Space Agency said, “The Australian Government has identified quantum as a critical technology in the national interest.” Adding “QuantX Labs’ quantum clock technology has the potential to transform the positioning, navigation, and timing services that underpin our daily lives, and we’re proud to provide support through the Australian Government’s Demonstrator Program. By drawing on SSTL’s extensive space engineering expertise to help get its quantum clock into orbit, QuantX Labs will be able to start developing valuable space heritage.”

A noteworthy benefit of this partnership is SSTL’s role as not only a provider of space systems engineering but also as a conduit to uplift the skill set of QuantX Labs engineering team, advancing not only Australia’s space technology but advancing the skills base in the space sector. QuantX Labs quantum expertise with SSTL’s deep space heritage in previous programs with European Space Agency and involvement in NASA’s GNSS program, will form the foundations required to instigate groundbreaking advancements in position, navigation, and timing services for Australia.

The culmination of this collaborative effort is slated for early 2026, when QuantX Labs will launch and demonstrate its precision timing technology in low Earth orbit. A rigorous journey of testing and preliminary launches is planned over the coming years to validate the reliability and performance of the innovative quantum technologies in the space environment.

The partnership between QuantX Labs and SSTL unites quantum expertise with space engineering excellence. With its dual role as a driver of space systems engineering and an enabler of broader skills uplift, SSTL is shaping not only the future of space technology but also the capabilities of the Australian workforce that powers it.

 

For Media Enquiries please contact:
Lisa Paddick, QuantX Labs: Mobile +61 (0) 4183 93996
Andrew Greenleigh, SSTL: Mobile +44 (0)7824 804905

 

About Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL)

Since 1981, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has built and launched 72 satellites for 20 international customers, as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial companies. SSTL is well known for innovative missions such as the CARBONITE satellite series, the NovaSAR S-band radar imaging satellite and the RemoveDEBRIS space debris removal technology demonstrator. Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL also has a representative office in Adelaide, Australia.

Published in Cold Facts Magazine – September 2023

 

Read Full Article

 

A slew of dynamic Australian companies are selling cutting-edge devices into allied defence forces around the world.

Alexandra Cain

This special report looks at progress on building up Australia’s defence following the strategic review.

DefendTex CEO Travis Reddy calls his Drone 40 the Lego of auto-ammunition. It’s far more than that. The apparatus can launch weapons and other tools such as cameras and even smoke. It can be used on its own or in a swarm and can put soldiers out of the enemy’s reach.

It’s just one of a number of cutting-edge devices being sold into allied defence forces around the world by a slew of dynamic Australian companies.

Soldier with drone
A British solider hand launches a DefendTex Drone40. 

“The Drone 40 comes out of a grenade launcher like a normal grenade, then it opens up into a quadcopter that can fly 15 kilometres to the target. It can hover above a target and we can call it back or track moving targets. Four or five people can put them in the air so they move as a single unit,” says Reddy.

“Soldiers can sit on a hill and engage targets out to 15 kilometres, greater than the range of a battle tank. It massively increases the lethality and survivability of soldiers because it keeps them beyond the range of enemy weaponry. You can plug and play whatever effect you need on the battlefield,” he says.

DefendTex started life as research organisation developing new technology for the Australian Defence Force, concentrating on asymmetric warfare, which involves conflict between two armed forces of different military strengths. “It allows us to expand our capability on the battlefield, as if we had more people,” says Reddy.

This is important because potential adversaries across the region have much larger defence capabilities than Australia. “So we have to find a way to deter and, if needed, defeat a numerically superior adversary,” he says.

The Drone 40 is DefendTex’s most advanced piece of technology. But it has also developed rocket-propelled grenades, novel types body armour and other classified projects. Reddy says it is Australia’s most successful company in terms of research and development for the ADF and received 16 contracts from the former Defence Innovation Hub, now superseded by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator.

DefendTex has offices in the US and UK, which is its largest market. It also works with allied defence forces such as Canada, Japan and New Zealand. Thousands of Drone 40s are already in use across other defence forces and Reddy hopes it will one way find its way back to the ADF.

In fact, innovation was one of the six focus areas identified in the Defence Strategic Review, which acknowledged a need for better mechanisms to connect innovative technologies to our defence force’s capabilities, including engaging Australian industry in this process.

Emerging technologies

Professor Emily Hilder, interim head of the ADF’s new $3.4 billion Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), says innovation is key in achieving asymmetric effects.

“Our focus is to bring new and better capabilities to our military and accelerate the development and delivery of the ADF’s capabilities through innovation.”

ASCA’s formation is part of the federal government’s pre-election commitment to establish an advanced strategic research agency, similar to the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is part of the US Department of Defense. The US research and development agency is charged with developing emerging military technologies for the nation. ASCA differs from the US agency in that it is an accelerator, rather than a research agency, which is an important distinction.

Emily hilder
Interim Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA), Professor Emily Hilder,   

Hilder says the accelerator’s initial priority is to identify clearly defined problems the ADF needs to solve. “It means when we bring people from industry in to work with ASCA, they know they are working on a problem we really need a solution for, from the start.”

“The key here is linking innovation through to the acquisition [of technologies], through to capability and ultimately through to export opportunities for Australian businesses. It’s a coordinated and centralised approach.”

QuantX is another emerging business in the defence sector that’s already having significant influence on Australia’s capabilities. It has developed a precision clock, known as the Cryoclock that is 10,000 times more precise than other technology. The tech is being applied to Australia’s over the horizon radars that monitor the top of Australia for unidentified sea and air threats.

With its partner BAE Systems, QuantX has been commissioned to develop and manufacture the Cryoclock technology as part of the upgrade of the Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar, allowing the radar network to see smaller objects with higher clarity.

“The Cryoclock is world-leading technology being installed onto Australia’s surveillance system, which is already envied by the world,” says executive director and general manager Martin O’Connor.

BAE Systems Australia is upgrading the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, working with QuantX Labs to install a cutting-edge radar technology. 

The Cryoclock technology has recently reached product design acceptance, which has been the result of four years of development.

QuantX Labs is also developing new quantum clock technology to be launched into space to provide navigation and timing signals as an alternative to GPS technology.

Mobile power plants

Turning to new technologies with the potential to be used in the field, ecoJet Engineering is developing micro turbines for power generation. Its devices provide up to 27 kilowatts of continuous electrical power.

“There’s more and more demand for reliable electricity in the field. What we make complements or replaces existing diesel generators, but is quieter and more efficient. They are also fuel flexible, so they can run on diesel, petrol, kerosene or even hydrogen. You can also use multiple units to build a scalable grid in a matter of minutes,” says director of engineering and products, James Kim.

It’s still early days for the business, but the devices are designed to be used as a versatile power generation solution in the army and broader ADF.

Local emerging defence tech firms are also engaging with defence forces around the world. AeroATLAS, for example, has technology that calculates an aircraft’s weight and centre of gravity, to support the ongoing stability and safety of a flight.

Demonstrating the Aeroatlas App
Aerospace engineer Gennaro DeMarco demonstrating the AeroATLAS app to a member of the RAAF at the Avalon air show. 

“In civil aviation, this is integrated into airport checking systems and teams of ground handlers provide that information to the pilot,” says Gennaro DeMarco, aerospace engineer at defence professional services firm Ascent and the brains behind AeroATLAS.

Conversely, in military aviation, pre-flight tasks and calculations are done on portable electronic devices, which is a complicated, time-consuming and hazardous process.

“Planes are taking on fuel mid-flight and dropping weapons. Plus crew are moving up and down the airframe and people are jumping off the back of the plane. So weight and balance considerations become a lot more complicated,” says DeMarco.

Simply adapting civilian tools to a military context isn’t always the best solution, because they can’t account for what happens on military planes without costly modifications to the civilian software.

AeroATLAS’s technology is understood to be a first-of-its-kind technology. Ascent is in discussions to sell it to the US and Italian defence forces, among others.

Interoperability is the challenge at the moment – how to make the tech defence-force agnostic. So no matter which plane or military uses it, it will work as soon as it’s switched on.

It’s likely more up-and-coming local defence businesses will emerge as the DSR’s recommendations are put in place.

 

https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/new-tech-keeps-soldiers-out-of-the-line-of-fire-20230807-p5dujl

 

The Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative has announced funding to ten recipients who will share in over $40 million to grow our national space industry.

As one of the beneficiaries, QuantX Labs leads a consortium of industry and academic teams in the KAIROS mission. This will see a next-generation optical atomic clock launched into space. The clock, originally demonstrated at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing at the University of Adelaide received initial funding through the SmartSat CRC, will now be converted into a space-ready payload, thanks to this additional investment.

This mission serves as a platform for Australia to showcase some of the most advanced quantum technology ever launched into space. This high-performance clock delivers capability that can be utilised for numerous high-value objectives.
Examples include enhanced autonomy and navigation in deep space, or in acting as the beating heart of a future timing network that provides a sovereign GPS navigation and timing solutions for Australia.

QuantX’s Managing Director, Professor Andre Luiten, said “This $3.7M dollar grant will unlock a much larger investment that will soon see globally-leading Australian quantum hardware in space. We believe that this technology will eventually prove to be benefit to all Australians by providing new navigation and timing services from space”.

QuantX’s Space Program Lead, Dr Sebastian Ng, said ”Our technology will deliver next generation timing performance to compete with current atomic clocks on GNSS satellites (such as GPS or Galileo). ”

The launch of QuantX’s precision timing technology is scheduled for late 2025. This milestone will be achieved through extensive testing and a series of preliminary launches, which will validate the robustness of these laser technologies. This approach aims to guarantee their reliability and performance under the demanding conditions of space.
The KAIROS mission aims to position the nation as a global leader in quantum technologies, paving the way for ground-breaking advancements in position, navigation, and timing services.

 By  APDR Staff  09/05/2023

The technology known as Cryoclock produces the purest radio frequency (RF) signals in the world. This is a critical capability for JORN, the nation’s most prominent early warning system, and enables the Commonwealth to detect the smallest targets approaching the north of Australia.

BAE Systems Australia JORN Acquisition Project Manager responsible for the Cryoclock project Phillip Way said, “We’ve seen Cryoclock come a long way and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. When we partnered with QuantX Labs in 2019, Cryoclock had just passed the scientific research stage and achieved a prototype demonstration. We maximised a strong working relationship with them and together we created the engineering knowhow to make Cryoclock a reality. Now, we’ve built the capacity for a high quality product and QuantX has gone from a small start up to a company standing on its own two feet.”

In October 2022, Cryoclock reached a major milestone by passing full acceptance testing, after undergoing upgrades and design improvements over the last two years. Now, the Cryoclock–JORN installation is leading to spin-off opportunities for the technology.

QuantX Labs General Manager Martin O’Connor said, “It has been the strong collaborations with BAE Systems Australia, University of Adelaide and defence agencies that has fast tracked our breakthrough Cryoclock technology to market. “QuantX Labs has received outstanding guidance from the BAE Systems Australia engineering team. This has driven advancements across our entire oscillator and clock product range for applications beyond the JORN program.”

Cryoclock works by using a sapphire crystal to generate an extremely stable signal in HF and microwave frequencies. The sapphire crystal is cryogenically cooled to six degrees Kelvin (-267 degrees Celsius). The extreme purity of the signal frequency is what will provide JORN with the ability to search further and identify smaller targets.
It wasn’t until a recent breakthrough in using closed-loop cryogenics to cool the Cryoclock’s sapphire crystal that it became practical enough to be used in systems like JORN.

The Cryoclock is a self-contained device that has a lot of inbuilt redundancy measures. Monitoring software is used to keep an eye on system health levels and servicing is only needed every two years. Currently undergoing Phase 6 upgrades, JORN is an over-the-horizon radar network that monitors the top of Australia for unidentified sea and air threats, as well as aiding in rescue operations and disaster relief efforts.

BAE Systems working on JORN technology

Six local defence firms have secured grants to bolster their competitiveness in global markets.

The Commonwealth government has awarded $1.3 million in grants to six local SMEs via the Defence Global Competitiveness Grant Program.

Recipients include Quantx Labs, Mymodular, and Ezy-Fit Engineering Group, which each received $240,000.

Quantx is expected to leverage the funding to increase export opportunities by expanding production and testing capability to meet lower size and cost expectations.

Mymodular is tipped to bring manufacturing ‘in-house’ by acquiring specialised plant and equipment to construct Extra Low Voltage (ELV) lighting systems with data transmission capability.

Meanwhile, Ezy-Fit Engineering Group has committed to implementing a new honing capability to manufacture specialised marine classified hydraulic cylinders up to 4 metres long.

Other recipients include:

“The ability of these businesses to identify export opportunities in a global market experiencing rapid technological change is a testament to the innovative and dynamic character of Australia’s defence industry,” Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said.

“Supporting these companies’ investment in new manufacturing capabilities or equipment allows them to meet the demands of international customers seeking a competitively priced product.”

Published by: Defence Connect

QuantX Labs, one of Australia’s leading defence technology firms, has reached a major milestone in the development of one of its flagship technologies.  The Sapphire Cryogenic Clock (Cryoclock for short) is now ready for inclusion into the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).

Following nearly two years of work to upgrades and improvements, QuantX’s Cryoclock has recently passed through a full acceptance testing of this flagship technology.

JORN is the Australian Defence Force’s key surveillance system, consisting of a connected series of three remote Over the Horizon radars located around Australia. JORN provides wide area surveillance of Australian borders and beyond and is this critical to our defence posture. BAE Systems Australia is leading the Phase 6 upgrade of the network.

Following this key acceptance stage, we will now work with BAE Systems Australia on an approach that would see the Cryoclock deployed into the JORN system enabling significantly improved detection with greatly increased sensitivity.

The Sapphire Cryogenic Clock has been developed over more than 30 years. Its current iteration shows a frequency instability that is equivalent to losing or gaining only one second every 40 million years. This is 100 times better than commercial atomic clocks over the relevant timescales. It is this signal purity that delivers the increased range and sensitivity of the JORN system.

QuantX’s Managing Director, Professor Andre Luiten said “It makes me incredibly proud to see leading-edge Australian research translated into technology that will make all Australians that little bit safer”.

QuantX’s General Manager, Dr Martin O’Connor, added “Every day I see our company work closely with University personnel, with other small defence companies, and with BAE Systems. It is this strong collaboration across the innovation pipeline that allows us to offer this breakthrough technology to the market”.

The Cryoclock technology, along with other world-leading technologies are in development at the QuantX Labs facility located at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in the heart of Adelaide CBD.

Beyond this radar application, the Cryoclock has numerous other uses in communications, navigation and measurement apparatus.

Read more about the Cryoclock technology here.

PDF Version

The SA company behind some of the world’s most precise clocks has secured $1m to fast-track a new atomic clock designed for space.

Adelaide technology company QuantX Labs has secured $1m in funding  to accelerate development of a new atomic clock designed to provide the most precise timing for satellites in space.

The funding from SmartSat CRC, will go towards commercialisation of the compact space clock, which is being developed in partnership with the University of Adelaide.

High precision timing is critical to global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as GPS, and QuantX’s clock is designed to be cheaper, smaller and more precise than those currently used in GNSS satellites.

The system uses high-precision lasers to interrogate rubidium vapour held in glass cells.

02 May 2022 – The Advertiser article

03 May 2022 – Defence Connect article

03 May 2022 – Space Connect article

03 May 2022 – Space Daily article

04 May 2022 – AU Manufacturing article