24.1.2020

Quantem based datalink

Quantum technologies are changing the face of unmanned aircraft communications – link

Source: Defence Talk

Article Headlines

  • The number of UAVs in the national airspace is growing and their ability to communicate with ground operators and each other is critical to a safe environment
  • But the increase in traffic is leading to an increase in communications disruptions because too many vehicles are trying to use the same limited number of frequencies
  • QKD (see picture) uses specialized laser and photon detector technology to enable UAVs to exchange encryption keys to communicate on extremely secure radio frequency channels
  • In addition, an optical channel provides a high data rate communication link for high bandwidth applications
  • The QTech (Quantum Technologies) project, a partnership of Glenn and NASA’s Ames Research Center, along with New York’s Air Force Research Laboratory and IJK Controls LLC, is attempting to harness the power of quantum technologies to ensure communication availability and address potential cybersecurity challenges

Overview & Comments

  • Aside from legacy anti-air means the cyber protection, within datalink systems, is very critical in modern warfare with regards to UAVs
  • Spoofing & jamming are a common threat in many operational theatres active today, up to efforts in actively trying to take control of the systems
  • Thus, “datalink assurance” is the new air-superiority addition needed for the modern area of operation
  • New forms of encryptions and/or datalinks are a must for current systems
  • In general, with regards to air-superiority, UAS are more vulnerable than other air assets as they usually employ several components that are vulnerable aside from the aerial platform itself – for example the GCS, Ground Datalink Terminals, Satellites (SATCOM) etc.
  • Contact ABG-SC to learn more on UAS survivability 

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