Second chances? What’s on the table as Improbable Defence’s UK arm is reborn as Skyral

Giles Ebbutt, Shepard Media

This analysis article originally appeared in December's Decisive Edge Military Training Newsletter.

London-based firm Skyral has arisen phoenix-like from the ashes of its previous identity as Improbable Defence UK and has announced the award of several multi-year contracts worth up to $36 million by the British government and other ‘global enterprise clients’.

According to a company statement ‘Skyral is applying its suite of products and services under these contracts to deliver C5ISR (command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) mission systems that improve the outcomes of military operations, collective training solutions that deliver more realistic LVC military training, mission rehearsal environments that de-risk high-threat operations and strategic digital twins that reduce costs, improve resilience and accelerate the commercial growth of enterprises’…

Above: Simulating complex scenarios to support operational planning and decision-making will be increasingly important for armed forces worldwide. (Photo: USAF)

The company’s product family is underpinned by a suite of modelling and simulation technologies and services dubbed Skyral Core. Products include end-to-end solutions for strategic and operational planning as part of Skyral Phantom, and digital twins of complex systems of systems simulations with Skyral Mirror.

The aim is to ‘deliver scientifically credible simulations at scales, complexity and composability well beyond what has been achievable to date’.

Joe Robinson, Skyral CEO, told the author that the platform supports operational planning and decision-making but is also being employed to look at mission rehearsal and help understand and support missions in different parts of the world.

He said that work is ‘focusing around understanding human dynamics, particularly in the sub-threshold area. It’s very hard to understand the sub-threshold domain compared to full-spectrum warfare [and] we’re drawing on some unique datasets to contribute to this’.

Robinson added that Skyral is expanding its effort to focus on the broader aspects of resilience and policy, to support practical solutions for areas such as infrastructure planning and supply chain resilience.

Speaking at an event to relaunch the company in its new form, Robinson said that simulated environments provide ‘a better understanding of the world we operate in’ and observed that with the advance of AI ‘the quality of digital twins will become ever greater’.

He suggested platforms and services such as Skyral’s offer ‘practical and useful technology which focus on critical problems’, adding that this approach ‘moves technology from being an enabler to offering empowerment, particularly when the tools are [given] to those who have to make critical decisions’.

Speaking at the same event, Sir Alex Younger, former head of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, said that the quantity of information available to analysts is now a problem and ‘we’re being overwhelmed’.

He said that in AI ‘we have a new opportunity to rationalise our environment and understand it in ways that were not available to us before, particularly in mass behaviour and psychology’. He added that this ‘helps to address the hybrid warfare problem, allows experiments and speeds decision-making’.

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