Arqit wins role to connect military, navy and air force systems

Arqit wins role to connect military, navy and air force systems

Ministry of Defence London.jpg

Quantum security company Arqit has won a role at the heart of the UK’s integrated military command system.

The company said it has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MOD, pictured via Google Streetview) to join its system to connect disparate and remote systems.

This will be compatible with the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) in the US and with other allies’ systems, said Arqit founder, chairman and CEO, David Williams.

“Military data systems need to be automated, interconnected, and interoperable across multiple domains globally,” said Williams. “They require machine-to-machine as well as human-to-human and human-to-machine interfaces of unprecedented scale and connectivity and need a modern security architecture to match.”

The UK name is Multi-Domain Integrated Systems (MDIS) Project. An unnamed MDIS project manager in the MOD said: “An MDIS capability relies on the collection, aggregation, and dissemination of a large amount of data.”

Arqit, with a market cap of US$1.57 billion after a reverse takeover, last year launched its quantum-based telecoms encryption service. Arqit calls this service QuantumCloud, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for telecoms, including consumer, industrial and defence internet of things (IoT).

The company is also at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Neom smart city project.

The unnamed MOD person said, via Arqit: “MDIS will be secure by design: security shall be embedded in thinking throughout all architectures, designs and implementations and shall follow a set of security principles such as zero-trust, encryption, least privilege and need-to-know by default. This ensures that any connectivity capability is secure, without requiring later rework to consider security.”

According to an MOD blog, MDI “is about ensuring that every part of defence can work seamlessly together, along with other government departments and the UK’s allies and partners, to deliver a desired outcome and defend our nation”.

A briefing to Congress in the US says JADC2 is the Pentagon’s “concept to connect sensors from all of the military services – Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force – into a single network. Traditionally, each of the military services developed its own tactical network that was incompatible with those of other services.” For example, “Army networks were unable to interface with Navy or Air Force networks”.

Williams hinted that Arqit is also working with what he called “other five-eyes partners”. Five eyes is the post-World War Two intelligence alliance between five English-speaking allies: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. “Interoperability is a significant advantage for us and crucial to the success of any MDI [Multi-Domain Integration] … initiative to support future joint operations,” said Williams.

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