Leidos Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortune 500 company Leidos, has been a trusted partner to the Australian Government for over 25 years, having delivered some of the most complex software and systems integration projects in Australia. Led by a local leadership team, Leidos delivers projects and services through five lines of business – Airborne Solutions, Civil Services & Projects, Defence Digital Solutions & Support, Defence Mission Systems and Intelligence (C4ISR).
Leidos Australia’s government and defence customers enjoy the advantage of a 2000+ person local business, backed by Leidos’ global expertise, experience and capabilities. With a focus on sovereign development and support, the company invests locally in research and development both directly and in combination with local Small and Medium Enterprises.
CONTINUING A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN LEGACY OF INNOVATION IN AVIATION
In 2022, Leidos made history acquiring part of the Cobham Aviation Services business that conducts special missions on behalf of the Australia Government. This marked its entry into the Australian aviation sector, and significantly expanded its presence in South Australia.
Leidos now owns and operates a fleet of modified aircraft that deliver critical services across Australia, including:
- Conducting one of the world’s largest civil maritime surveillance operations under contract with the Australian Border Force, patrolling Australia’s 8.2 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone
- Providing fixed wing search-and-rescue response capability over land and sea on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
The legacy of Cobham, and its predecessor National Jet Systems, is rooted in aviation innovation and born from South Australian entrepreneurship. From challenging the status quo around what types of aircraft could perform specialist services, to developing custom platform solutions for delivering aerial surveillance and search-and-rescue services, Adelaide remains the home and hub of Leidos’ Airborne Solutions innovation.
Adelaide is home to Leidos Airborne Solutions’ operations control centre and Systems Integration Laboratory and technical support teams. The operations control centre is the heartbeat of a national network of aircraft and crew who are deployed to fulfil missions of national importance, 24/7, 365 days of the year.
“We see huge opportunity to grow our footprint in South Australia, both in our engineering and surveillance services. We’re proud of our local-built capabilities, which are recognised by our customers as being truly world-class, and we see potential for supporting our other customers from Australia.” – Paul Chase, Leidos Australia CEO
DEVELOPING A WORLD-LEADING MISSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
One of Leidos’ most significant contributions to aviation innovation to date has been collaborating on the development of sovereign Mission Management Systems (MMS) for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and platforms.
For more than a decade, the company has worked in partnership with local Adelaide SME Acacia Systems on developing and delivering a customer-specific, Australian developed, world-leading MMS capability for its Australian government customers.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN EFFECTIVE MISSION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Mission Management System (MMS) is the heart of an Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) system. It effectively integrates all data received from multiple surveillance technologies integrated onto the aircraft. This includes the surveillance radar, electro optic turret, mission radios, satcom systems and navigation systems.
Not only does the aircraft MMS capture and correlate all the information received by the aircraft sensors, but it also communicates this information to the ground-based operations control centre in real time via a satellite communications system. This means that both the aircrew on board the aircraft and the operations control teams in Canberra can see the progress of the mission in real-time and are able to communicate with each other about the best course of action for the mission as it progresses.
Airborne ISR systems in Australia have to date relied on importing foreign-developed MMS, reflecting a missed opportunity for developing systems to meet unique Australian requirements whilst developing Australian sovereign industry capability.
The benefits of sovereign developed systems are significant, including the opportunity to co-collaborate on the build, the interface, and obtain the unique operational perspective of Australian end-users during development to shape an effective solution for both the operator and customer.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Through the partnership between Leidos’ Airborne Solutions Australia and Acacia, this MMS technology is being continually developed, and is continually evolving through dedicated activities to enhance its capability, versatility and performance.
This world-leading MMS capability provides a significant opportunity in both civil and military domains in Australia and overseas – an exciting prospect for Leidos Australia and Acacia Systems and their customers.