The team at Shoal is comprised of leading specialists in big, complex, systems involving people and technology. What makes us unique is our focus on early-stage design. Specialising in working ‘left of the spec’ – defining what the system needs to do to meet the needs, goals and objectives of stakeholders.

When developing solutions we focus on understanding the whole system, its environment and the complex interactions of its elements. Some people treat systems as purely technical, but in the real world, systems involve people as well as technology – so at Shoal, we help our clients combine the people, processes and technology needed to deliver a superior outcome.

We help our clients clearly define the complex problems they’re facing and design solutions they can trust.


Shoal is a world leader in design and analysis of large-scale complex systems using Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE). We specialise in early-stage conceptual design of systems solutions and follow through to system development, integration and verification and validation.

This design capability is being applied to a range of Australian Defence projects up to and including the largest and most complex: LAND 400 – Land Combat Vehicle System ($10B+), SEA 5000 – Future Frigate ($20B+) and SEA 1000 – Future Submarine ($35B+).

We have also provided design support to a range of military R&D projects and to urgent needs such as a Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) system, and designing systems to defeat roadside bombs to protect Australian forces in Afghanistan.

Our MBSE-based design capability seeks to uncover operational needs and produce well-considered solutions by applying well-known systems engineering techniques and concepts in a fully-traceable, iterative process.

Originally developed to support Australian involvement in the US Joint Strike Fighter Program, we have evolved this design capability over decades of practical application and company-funded research and development including publication of many scholarly papers. The capability has been expanded and is now suited to the most complex of design challenges across a range of industries.

Beyond conceptual design, we are currently working to take MBSE through the system life cycle. This work includes collaboration with major research organisations in Australia and the United States.

Our complex system conceptual design capability is listed in the Australian Training and Simulation Industry Capability Directory as the Whole-of-System Analytical Framework (WSAF).


Shoal has been instrumental in developing structured frameworks supporting capability definition and acquisition. In collaboration with Australian Defence agencies, Shoal has developed a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) approach to assist in defining Defence capabilities, needs and system requirements. The delivered products, tools and processes have been released in Defence as the “Whole-of-System Analytical Framework” (WSAF). The WSAF is currently in use with a number of Australian Defence’s largest and most complex capability projects, and Shoal has also adapted this approach to develop a Capability Framework for the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Shoal is actively involved in developing similar frameworks for capability definition in other government departments and industries.


Our work over many years in the creation of complex system modelling and simulation software for safety analysis and other high-consequence applications has led us to develop a specialist assured system and software development practice. This practice is founded upon the four pillars of systems engineering: requirements, review, risk and configuration management and implements elements of major engineering standards.

In particular, our work has included application of assurance standards for safety-related aerospace software development. Shoal is one of the few practicing DO-178 engineering houses in Australia.


We have extensive experience in improving client engineering capabilities through the application of standards-based system engineering practices in Department of Defence agencies, Defence industry, wider civil industry including in the cyber-security domain, and in science organisations including the Giant Magellan Telescope Organisation.