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article imageCanada invests $2.7 million in Quantum radar technology

By Karen Graham     Apr 26, 2018 in Technology
Stealth technology may be on the way out, now that The University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), has received a $2.7 million investment from Canada’s Department of National Defence in order to develop quantum-based radar.
It is easy to understand why Canada would want to keep a close eye on its interests in the Arctic, especially now that climate change has opened up what once were impassable routes across the top of the world.
Funding comes from the Department of National Defence’s All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) program, which is focused on “enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface and sub-surface approaches to Canada,” especially in the Arctic.
The new quantum-based radar technology will be a powerful system that will replace aging, unmanned radar sites across the Canadian Arctic, protecting Canada's resources and Arctic sovereignty.
Jonathan Baugh and Francois Sfigakis in the laboratory.
Jonathan Baugh and Francois Sfigakis in the laboratory.
Led by Jonathan Baugh at the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the project will use the phenomenon of quantum entanglement to eliminate heavy background noise, which stealth technology uses to go undetected. Quantum entanglement defeats the stealth anti-radar technologies to detect incoming aircraft and missiles with much greater accuracy.
Basically, this comes down to quantum radar being able to remotely sense a low-reflectivity target that is embedded within a bright microwave background, with detection performance well beyond the capability of a classical microwave radar.
According to Gizmodo, the new quantum radar will also overcome a very Canadian problem - The aurora borealis, which can cause problems with traditional radar systems.
The North Warning System  pictured  will soon be due for an upgrade.
The North Warning System, pictured, will soon be due for an upgrade.
Department of National Defence
"In the Arctic, space weather such as geomagnetic storms and solar flares interfere with radar operation and make the effective identification of objects more challenging," says Baugh. "By moving from traditional radar to quantum radar, we hope to not only cut through this noise, but also to identify objects that have been specifically designed to avoid detection."
Quantum radar is still under development at the IQC - confined to the laboratory under the Department of National Defence's All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science & Technology program.
However, it is anticipated that it will one day be mature enough to replace the North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD) current 54 North Warning System (NWS) radar stations in the Arctic, which may need to be replaced from 2025.
"This project will allow us to develop the technology to help move quantum radar from the lab to the field," says Baugh. "It could change the way we think about national security."
More about quantum radar, stealth technology, Canada, quantum illumination, arctic region
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