Our Internal Research and Development (IR&D) program is self-funded and is used to extend our core capabilities and to explore new ideas. Recent examples include:

  • Requirements visualisation for our MBSE-based conceptual design capability
  • Aerospace Vehicle Behavoiur
    • Alignment of our World-unique Unified Fractal Fragmentation model
    • Integration of our Range Safety Template Toolkit (which we developed with DSTO WSD since 2004) with the de facto industry standard for aerospace visualisation, the Satellite Tool Kit (STK) from AGI, Inc.
    • Investigation of the feasibility of applying the massive Monte Carlo simulation capabilities inherent in our Range Safety Template Toolkit to the finance industry
  • Financial Risk Analysis
  • Antarctic Broadband


Aerodynamics analysis tool

Shoal, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, is currently undertaking research into aerodynamic prediction tools used in conjunction with its existing Range Safety Template Toolkit (RSTT) safety simulation capabilities. The research involves the analysis and verification of different methods used in determining aerodynamic coefficients for computational flight simulation. A number of mainstream tools are compared over a variety of input vehicle geometries including a sounding rocket, suborbital launch vehicle, guided munitions, and re-entering space craft

Vehicle breakup modelling

Shoal is actively contributing to the development of methodologies to the challenging problem of determining the fragmentation of aerospace vehicles during break up. The ‘fractal fragmentation’ concept for debris allows for the creation of fragment lists (‘debris catalogs’) resulting from breakup due to both explosive and aerodynamic forces.

This method allows for distributions of fragments to be estimated for new vehicle classes, or where exact details are not known. Fractal fragmentation is also easy to apply, and allows for the faster, cheaper production of debris catalogs and, hence, Risk Hazard Analyses. Furthermore, the technique can be easily tuned to match known cases thus increasing confidence in the utility of the outputs.

This methodology was recently presented to the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) working group.


QxBranch is our quantum computing software and services company founded by Shoal and formed out of a World-unique research collaboration agreement with Lockheed Martin.

Announced in May 2014, the agreement initiated the development of software, applications, and applied research to accelerate the adoption of quantum computing on Lockheed’s D-Wave Two quantum computer.

“We saw in Shoal (formerly Aerospace Concepts) the technological expertise and systems engineering discipline, combined with creative, savvy and innovative ferocity, required to quickly grasp the power of quantum computing and deliver on the technology for our next-generation platforms ”

— Dr Ned Allen – Chief Scientist, Lockheed Martin.

Now headquartered in Washington, DC, QxBranch takes its beginnings at Shoal to a new level, by working to identify and develop new, game-changing applications enabled by quantum computing.

Visit the QxBranch website for more information.


Shoal’s growing engineering and business capability achieved major recognition in 2009 when an international consortium (including Canadian, US and Australian organisations) led by our R&D arm, Shoal (then known as Aerospace Concepts), was awarded a $2.1M grant under the Australian Space Research Program. This grant has part-funded the Antarctic Broadband program, which aims to establish a high-quality communications service for the international research community in Antarctica. Using small-satellite technology customised for the needs of users in the Antarctic region, the program will provide the hardest-to-reach continent with dedicated links to the rest of the world.

The 10kg Antarctic Broadband demonstrator nanosatellite, shown right, is intended to characterise Ka-band communications over Antarctica. The system design has passed Detailed Design Review and the satellite is ready for manufacture, launch, and operations. The operational system, based on larger 180kg microsatellites, is at a preliminary stage of design. As part of the risk reduction work completed to date, we have installed a nanosatellite payload integration and test facility and ground station at the Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra.

Antarctic Broadband has also resulted in the only nanosatellite-class Ka-band communications payload in the World, shown left, and was exhibited as such at the international small satellite conference (‘SmallSat’ in the Logan, Utah) in August 2011.

Antarctic Broadband has been the subject of considerable media coverage, including being featured on ABC TV’s Catalyst science program in early 2012, and was awarded an ‘Engineering Excellence Award’ by Engineers Australia in late 2011.

Shoal is continuing to invest in Antarctic Broadband and is actively working with the international Antarctic community and a major satellite operator to further develop the operational concept and business case.

The successful execution of the Antarctic Broadband program will provide Australia with a vastly superior communications capability in the Antarctic region for many years to come. When complete, the Antarctic Broadband service will directly support research in the Antarctic across areas including climate change, astronomy, ecosystems and meteorology.


Shoal is currently investigating the feasibility of applying its systems modelling and risk analysis expertise to the problem of financial risk analysis. Given the prominence which modelling and forecasting have in the financial sector, it is believed that there will be many possible applications of Shoal’s expertise. We are currently engaging key players in the financial sector in order to explore ways in which Shoal can provide solutions to the problems they face.


Shoal promotes continuous professional development by encouraging each professional in our team to author (preferably as lead author) and publish a scholarly paper at least once every two years.


Hause & Hallett, 2016, MB-PLE to Plan and Track Submarine Configurations, INCOSE International Symposium, Edinburgh, Scotland

Morris, Harvey, Robinson & Cook, 2016, Issues in Conceptual Design and MBSE Successes: Insights from the Model-Based Conceptual Design Surveys, INCOSE International Symposium, Edinburgh, Scotland

Hause & Hallet, 2016, MB-PLE to Plan and Track Submarine Configurations – presentation, SETE, Melbourne, VIC

Hause & Hallet, 2016, MB-PLE to Plan and Track Submarine Configurations, SETE, Melbourne, VIC

Wilson, 2016, Leveraging lessons learned from cross-domain SE implementation for transport applications, SETE, Melbourne, VIC

Wylie, Harvey & Liddy, 2016, Model-Based Conceptual Design through to system implementation – Lessons from a structured yet agile approach – presentation, SETE, Melbourne, VIC

Wylie, Harvey & Liddy, 2016, Model-Based Conceptual Design through to system implementation – Lessons from a structured yet agile approach, SETE, Melbourne, VIC


Cook, Bender, Spencer & Waite, 2015, Evaluation of a Model-based Technical Risk Assessment Methodology, SETE, Canberra, ACT

Cook & Wilson, 2015, Determining Return on Investment for MBSE, SE & SoSE, ASEW, Sydney, NSW

Readman, Jusaitis, Spencer, Passmore & Robinson, 2015, Lessons in Model Reuse, ASEW, Sydney, NSW

Wylie, 2015, MBCD through to system implementation, ASEW, Sydney, NSW


French, Harvey, Liddy & Waite, 2014, Four tenets of Systems Engineering from a Model-Based perspective, ASEW, Canberra, ACT

Aluwihare, Waite & French, 2014, Model Based Systems Engineering – A Methodology for Collaborative Requirements Engineering, ADEC, Melbourne, VIC

Brett, Bateup, Butt & Wilson, 2014, Considerations for the Safe Controlled Targeted De-Orbit Of Large Space Vehicles, 65th International Astronautical Congress, Toronto, Canada

Brett, Leeson & Wilson, 2014, Skills Audit of the Australian Space Sector, 65th International Astronautical Congress, Toronto, Canada

Harvey & Liddy, 2014, Architecting the Problem Space-Model-Based User Needs Analysis, INCOSE International Symposium, Nevada, USA

Tetlow, Broderick, Waite & Harvey, 2014, Modelling Requirements for Mission Success Prediction, ADORR

Spencer & Harvery, 2014, A Model-based Approach to Capability in Fire and Emergency Services, SETE, Canberra, ACT

Harvey, 2014, Architecting the Problem Space – Model-Based User Needs Analysis, SETE, Canberra, ACT

Tetlow & Cook, 2014, Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for a University Nanosatellite, GLAC, Paris


Butt, Padilha, Brett,  Tisato & Wilson, 2013, Determining Appropriate FRM Probabilities for New Commercial Spaceflight Vehicles, 64th International Astronautical Congress, China

Tramoundanis, Power & Spencer, 2013, Integration Risk Analysis in an MBSE Environment, SETE, Canberra, ACT

Logan, Morris, Lindsay & Harvey, 2013, MBSE Metamodel – Roadmap for Effective SE Process, SETE, Canberra, ACT


Padilha, Butt, Tisato & Wilson, 2012, The Australian Approach to Ground Population Modelling and Risk Assessment, IAASS, VA, USA

Butt, Padilha, Tisato & Wilson, 2012, Creation of Debris Catalogs Using Fractal Fragmentation, IAASS, VA, USA

Butt, Padilha, Tisato & Wilson, 2012, Determining Appropriate Failure Response Mode Probabilities for High-Altitude Sounding Rockets, IAASS, VA, USA

Liddy, Waite, Harvey & Logan, 2012, Theatre of Operations, MBSE Symposium, DSTO Edinburgh, South Australia

Spencer & Wilson, 2012, Modelling the Management of Systems Engineering Projects, MBSE Symposium, DSTO Edinburgh, South Australia

McCowan & Waite, 2012, The Best of Both Worlds CORE-based WSAF and DOORS-based Requirements Management, MBSE Symposium, DSTO Edinburgh, South Australia

Tramoundanis, Power & Spencer, 2012, Technical Risk Analysis-Exploiting the Power of MBSE, DSTO Edinburgh, South Australia

Williams, Vuletich, Tisato, Brett & Wilson, 2012, Application of the Range Safety Template Toolkit to UAS Risk Hazard Analysis, ICAS, Brisbane, QLD

Logan, Harvey & Spencer, 2012, Documents are an Essential Part of Model Based Systems Engineering, INCOSE International Symposium, Rome, Italy

Harvey, Waite Logan & Liddy, 2012, Document the Model, Don’t Model the Document, SETE/APCOSE, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brett, 2012, Antarctic Broadband featured on ABC TV’s Catalyst science program

Faber, 2012, Ka-band communications for cubesats and other nanosats –  abstract and presentation, 4th European Cubesat Symposium Brussels, Belgium


Vuletich, Williams, Tisato, Brett, Gair & Wilson, 2011, Verification of Javelin Block Range Safety Template using the RSTT, PARARI, the 10th International Explosive Ordnance Symposium, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Tisato, Vuletich, Brett, Williams & Wilson, 2011, Improved Range Safety Analysis for Space Vehicles Using RSTT, 5th International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety Conference (IAASS 2011), Versailles, France

Logan & Harvey, 2011, Documents as Information Artefacts in MBSE, 5th Asia-Pacific Conference on Systems Engineering (APCOSE 2011), Seoul, South Korea

Faber, 2011, Business Case for Delivering Broadband to the Antarctic Using Micro-Satellites, International Astronautical Congress 2011, South Africa

Brett, Wilson, Vuletich, Tisato, Williams & Guthrie, 2011, Range Hazard Analysis for Commercial Spaceflight Activities using RSTT, International Astronautical Congress 2011, Cape Town, South Africa

King, 2011, Can Small Do What Big Does, Only Better-An Update,  AIAA Utah State University SmallSat 2011 conference, Logan, Utah, USA

Frost, 2011, A quarter century of SmallSat progress , The Space Review, Article

Waite & Logan, 2011, Model Based User Needs Analysis, Systems Engineering and Test and Evaluation Conference (SETE 2011), Canberra, Australia


Logan & Harvey, 2010, Architecting the Problem Space, APCOSE 2010 – the 4th Asia-Pacific Conference on Systems Engineering, Taiwan, Republic of China

Brett, Faber, Boyd, King, Vuletich, & Wilson, 2010, Antarctic Broadband – A micro-satellite niche, 61st International Astronautical Congress, Prague, Czech Republic

Robinson, Tramoundanis, Harvey, Jones & Wilson, 2010, Demonstrating Model-Based Systems Engineering for Specifying Complex Capability, Systems Engineering / Test & Evaluation Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Wilson, Vuletich, Bryce, Brett, Williams, Fletcher, Jokic & Cooper, 2009, Space Launch and Re-Entry Rish Hazard Analysis-A New Capability, 60th International Astronautical Congress, Daejeon, South Korea

Bryce, Vuletich & Wilson, 2009, A Fractal Fragmentation Model for Breakup of Aerospace Vehicles, 9th Australia Space Science Conference, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Wilson, Vuleitch, Fletcher, Jokic, Brett, Boyd, Williams & Bryce, 2008, Guided Weapon Danger Area and Safety Template Generation – A New Capability, Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Honolulu, Hawaii


Fletcher, Wilson, Jokic & Vuletich, 2006, Guided Weapon Danger Area Generation – Implementing a Probabilistic Approach, Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Keystone, Colorado, United States

Wilson, 2006, Complex Systems Engineering, What is the Difference?, Pan-TTCP Symposium on Complex Adaptive Systems for Defence, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Unewisse, Wilson,Perry & Boyd, 2006, An Australian Approach to Assessing Force-Level NCW Readiness, 2006 Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (2006 CCRTS), San Diego, California

Wilson & Skinner, 2006, Complexity in ICT Systems and Projects Workshop, The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering at the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Boyd, Collyer, Skinner, Smeaton, Wilson, Krause, Dexter, Perry & Godfrey, 2005, Characterisation of Combat Identification Technologies, IEEE International Region 10 Conference, Tencon ’05, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Fletcher, Wilson, Jokic & Vuletich, 2005, Guided Weapon Safety Template Generation – A Probabilistic Approach, Systems Engineering / Test & Evaluation (SETE) Conference, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Boyd, Williams, Skinner & Wilson, 2005, A Comparison of Approaches to Assessing NCW Concept Implementation, Systems Engineering / Test & Evaluation (SETE) Conference, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Wilson, 2005, Technology for Combat Identification, Combat ID Conference, Washington, DC


ACPL, 2002, Preliminary Study into the Australian Army’s Future Offensive Support Systems (AFOSS) needsReleased by Defence