Quantum leap as Royal Navy becomes first military force to install new hi-tech atomic clock into aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales

QUANTUM technology has been installed in the Royal Navy’s biggest warship ever made, in a world first by Britain.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 11th March 2022, 3:28 pm

The globe’s first atomic clock of its kind had been installed in HMS Prince of Wales.

The aircraft carrier received the state-of-the-art piece of quantum kit before sailing for Norway on Monday to join a major military drill in the Arctic.

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HMS Prince of Wales, pictured, has installed a new atomic clock, a quantum piece of kit that produces an incredibly accurate time signal which will allow the ship’s complex combat systems to synchronise should the more traditional GPS signal fail.

The technology – about the size of a typical laptop – provides a ‘highly-accurate time signal’ which will allow the £3.2bn 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 crew 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.

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Wallace RM, of the Royal Navy office of the chief technology officer, said: ‘Putting leading-edge quantum equipment into the front line is a game changer for the UK.’

The atomic clock which has been fitted inside HMS Prince of Wales

Quantum computing harnesses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver a huge leap forward in computation to solve certain problems.

The are able to process large amounts of data, incredibly quickly – far more efficiently than the latest supercomputers.

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.

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

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.

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