The General Secretariat for Investment (SGPI), under the authority of the French Prime Minister, has awarded HENSOLDT France SAS the contract for a post-quantum cryptography project. The contact comes from within the framework of the France 2030 national quantum strategy and is based on the company’s more than thirty years of experience in ensuring the cybersecurity of military airborne tactical data links.
With its X7-PQC project, HENSOLDT intends to develop ground-breaking post-quantum technology capable of repelling cyberattacks that involve the use of quantum computers. This technology will allow France to ensure its digital supremacy in securing tactical data links as well as military and civilian platforms.
During the term of the R&D programme, the key elements of the X7 technology will be analysed within the context of a CIFRE dissertation and three degree-level final year projects until 2026.
HENSOLDT France has decided to develop the technology in partnership with the company SECURE-IC and both the XLIM and TELECOM PARIS research laboratories.
Given its cryptography experience in the defence arena, HENSOLDT will lead the consortium and develop a PQC system based on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). SECURE-IC, with its comprehensive security knowledge in the civilian sector, will design a PQC signature algorithm with an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). XLIM will develop new, superior, code-based signature and encryption algorithms. To ensure a high degree of security, TELECOM PARIS will test the implementation of these FPGA-based PQC algorithms using side-channel attacks.
With a view to further technological developments, the developed devices will be flexible and reconfigurable to allow for the execution of even more complex algorithms in the future.
Within the framework of this programme, HENSOLDT France intends to produce new, innovative post-quantum encryption technology under the X7-PQC brand name. This will be used to encrypt sensitive data from sensors, tactical data links and more and also store data from classified military operations. The system will be compatible with all land, air and sea platforms that can be equipped with the X7 solution – even drones, thanks to its compact dimensions.
“We want to devise another technological element for our existing X7 solution by implementing functions that can keep pace with the development of quantum computers. These functions will then enable us to offer a next-generation, French post-quantum cryptography solution at both national and international level,” explained Philippe Guibourg, Managing Director of HENSOLDT France.
With the programme, which falls within the framework of the France 2030 investment plan, HENSOLDT France will already transition to post-quantum technology before 2030, a step recommended by various standardisation bodies such as the French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The company will position itself as a leading actor in airborne cybersecurity and play an active role in defining future encryption standards.