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US Air Force Advances Quantum Research

AFRL awards IonQ $13.4M contract for access to its trapped ion hardware

John Potter

October 4, 2022

1 Min Read
An illustration of IonQ's trapped ion processor.
IonQ's trapped ion processor.IonQ

Quantum computing hardware and software company IonQ has secured a $13.4 million contract to supply the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) with access to its trapped ion quantum computing systems.

The contract will allow the AFRL to conduct quantum computing hardware research and advance the development of quantum algorithms and applications.

The research aims to strengthens the ability of the U.S. Air Force to protect the country's public and private infrastructure using 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 AFRL information directorate deputy director Michael Hayduk.

"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 is the key that we believe will unlock unforeseen efficiencies and strength in the development and deployment of U.S. defense technologies," said IonQ CEO Peter Chapman. 

"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."

The ARFL agreement reflects greater support for U.S. government investment in quantum computing. This support manifests itself in a growing list of executive branch directives, advisories and proposed cybersecurity legislation related to quantum computing.  

The new contract follows a string of high-profile commercial agreements made by IonQ over the past year with Airbus, GE Research, Goldman Sachs, Hyundai and others.  

More recently, the company provided researchers, developers, and industry leaders with cloud access to its Aria system on Microsoft Azure Quantum.  

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