The Royal Navy is testing a quantum compass as an alternative to GPS

Alternative navigation technologies to GPS are now a priority for armies. In this field, the quantum compass developed by the Royal Navy represents a powerful solution.

While the Global Positioning System, or GPS, and satellite navigation systems more generally, have revolutionized military action in many areas over the past 30 years, the very nature of the system, which is based on electromagnetic signals emitted by satellites, has also become a vulnerability that is all the more important as this technology is today very widely used in a large number of military equipment.

Several alternatives are being studied to overcome this threat, such as stellar navigation, odometer, signals of opportunity or new magnetic navigation systems, both to allow navigation in an environment deprived of a GPS signal and to detect an alteration of the GPS signal itself, by interference of the spoofing type.

But the Grail, for this type of system, is based on another technology, that of the quantum compass. This is based, in a way, on the principle of the inertial unit, since it makes it possible to detect variations in the speed vector of the system, and starting from there, to determine its position relative to an original position.

krasukha 4 GPS jamming russia Inertial Navigation | Flash Defense | Surface fleet
The Russian armies have numerous jamming stations intended to deprive a space of reliable GPS signals, such as the Krazuka-4.

But where the most precise inertial units of the moment, in particular those which equip nuclear submarines evolving by definition in an environment deprived of GPS signals, must be readjusted at regular intervals, most often using a satellite positioning, to maintain satisfactory working precision, the quantum compass is much more resilient, and above all much more sensitive, so that the drift it undergoes over time is considerably reduced.

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