IonQ has been awarded a $13.4m contract to provide quantum computing-based solutions to the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

Under this contract, the company will provide AFRL with access to its trapped ion systems to support the quantum computing hardware research and quantum algorithms and applications’ development.

Specifically, this firm-fixed-price contract will support the delivery and installation of a quantum computer.

According to US Department of Defense’s (DoD) announcement, the computer will create quantum algorithms for DoD’s applications.

Work will be carried out in College Park, Maryland, US. It is anticipated to complete by September 2025.

AFRL Information Directorate deputy director Michael Hayduk said: “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 development of quantum computing and networking capabilities.

“This contract solidifies AFRL’s long-term strategic focus in quantum information science.

“The partnership will accelerate critical quantum science and technology projects, benefiting USAF as we seek to maintain our competitive advantage and advance our national security interests.”

IonQ noted that the quantum computing systems and applications are capable of catering to the US Air Force’s (USAF) requirement to safeguard the country’s private and public infrastructure.

This contract also marks IonQ’s commercialisation milestone, which signifies key public-private partnership to invest in quantum computing.

Last year, a Quantum Cybersecurity Preparedness Act was introduced by the US House of Representatives, focusing on the need to invest in quantum capability to protect the country from potential future quantum-powered attacks.

IonQ CEO Peter Chapman said: “Quantum computing is the key that we believe will unlock unforeseen efficiencies and strength in development and deployment of US defence technologies.”