A global footprint that spans the Earth
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations at Leidos, Insights will be taking a closer look over the course of this year at some of the key moments in the company's history. For a deeper dive into our past, we invite you to download and read our new eBook.
Leidos tackled its first international job seven years after Dr. J. Robert Beyster launched the company. Today, Leidos has more than 400 locations in 30 countries and is among the few companies in the world that have worked on all seven continents. But the company’s global presence almost didn’t happen.
Beyster had some reservations about expanding internationally, once writing that, “The question for me was, why bother with international work at all?” He understood, however, that going overseas would bring in more income while expanding the company’s profile. Expanding globally would also appeal to employees who enjoyed international travel.
The company’s first overseas project in 1976 was for the Kuwaiti defense forces. That contract was followed by nuclear work – an area the company specialized in during the early years – with the Defense Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) in the United Kingdom. In 1979, the company won a contract to create a command, control, and communications station for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces.
Besides being the company’s first large international contract, the deal was also the company’s first large systems integration contract. Beyster maintained fond memories of the project years later, calling it a “model of how to build a successful international relationship.”
Over the following decades, the company enjoyed steady growth internationally. In 2017, international work made up 9 percent of Leidos’ revenue. Some of the marquee international contracts Leidos holds are in the U.K., Australia, and Antarctica.
Leidos’ largest international presence is in the U.K. and Europe, where the company has 1,500 employees. Among the customers they support are the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, NATS, and NATO.
In 2015, Leidos began working on a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar program for the MOD. Known as the Logistic Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme, the massive project is enhancing and improving the procurement, storage, inventory management, and distribution of the U.K.’s military commodities.
NATS is the leading provider of air traffic services in the U.K. and another major Leidos customer. Formerly known as the National Air Traffic Services, NATS supports 14 airports, 250 million passengers and 2.4 million flights annually. Leidos provides support for the current systems at NATS while collaborating with them on the development of next-generation air traffic control.
In Australia, Leidos has more than 1,000 employees working in defense, intelligence, and IT services. The team Down Under provides vital IT support to customers such as the Australian Department of Defence’s Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) and the Australian Tax Office. Two years ago, the company opened Leidos CONNECT, a high-tech collaboration space, in Canberra. CONNECT showcases a variety of capabilities and major technology partners to help customers overcome critical technical challenges.
A different set of challenges confront Leidos in the bitter extremes of Antarctica. The company operates the world’s longest supply chain to support research that’s conducted under the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Antarctic Support Contract (ASC). Under the contract, Leidos also handles all support and maintenance of infrastructure for the U.S. contingent. The difficult work Leidos performs on the remote continent provides researchers with the resources they need to achieve scientific breakthroughs.