Although the ongoing ‘tech war’ between the US and China is driving global investment in quantum tech, it seems at first glance that Europe has fallen well behind.

Curiously, however, recent GlobalData analysis suggests that Europe, particularly Denmark, is positioned to be the hub for the quantum revolution.

The quantum sector has been ever-present in the minds of defence strategists for the past several years. By applying the principles of quantum mechanics (the physics of sub-atomic particles) to technologies such as computers – otherwise referred to as ‘quantum computing’ – it will offer considerable improvements to how the industry operates, from weapons to sensors; but this goes for everything, not just defence.

Leading market analysts from GlobalData estimated the value of the global quantum computing market in 2022 at $1bn, with some anticipating growth of up to $125bn by 2030.

Steady investment in this sector is unveiling new design philosophies that could accelerate the timetable for eventual deployments. At the same time, the sector has by overhyped for years and this has led to a ‘quantum winter’, which means that an apparent lack of progress has led to a notable drop in faith and investment in quantum tech.

Is Europe really a slog in quantum tech?

Although the US announced the appropriation of $3bn for federal quantum projects in 2022, with an additional $1.2bn coming from the National Quantum Initiative, European defence companies are well aware of the potential of this emerging sector.

According to GlobalData intelligence, seven European defence companies have mentioned quantum computing the most, compared to one US company, in their filings since April 2019. This is closely followed by one Indian defence firm’s two branches.

Quantum computing defence company filings, April 2019-March 2024. Credit: GlobalData intelligence.

Nato centres Denmark for cultivation

Moreover, in a GlobalData analyst briefing entitled “Nato’s investments in quantum technology and the path to a ‘quantum-ready Alliance” (2024), defence analyst Tristan Sauer observes the rise of Europe, particularly Denmark, as a centre for cultivating quantum tech ahead of fielding the fully functional tech in the years to come.

“A recent development which illustrates Nato’s commitment to its quantum technologies strategy was the creation of the Deep Tech Lab – Quantum in Copenhagen, Denmark, in late 2023 to support DIANA,” he pointed out.

“The decision to base this facility in Denmark is likely due to the Danish Government’s proactive engagement with the quantum sector via both academia and industry, with Denmark having published its own ‘National Strategy on Quantum Technology’ document and allocated €161m ($171m) in funding between 2024-2027 to support the domestic quantum ecosystem.”