It took Faun Trackway, a Welsh company that produces temporary roadways and landing strips, about 31/2 years of research before it decided to launch a US business.
Company officials flew back and forth, visiting military installations and officials, exhibiting at trade shows, and getting to know the US defence industry.
Last week, the company jumped in, opening the sales office of its independent US business in the District. Even as the Pentagon warns of reduced spending, Faun Trackway is among those European contractors seeking opportunities in the US, citing a market that is simply too big to pass up.
"It's clear that there's a distinct need for the products that we offer," said J. Alun Jones, the company's chief executive. "The US market is the largest...so we want to be here."
They are not alone. Swedish defence company Saab AB said it is doubling its D.C. staff and has purchased an East Syracuse, N.Y.-based air traffic management and surveillance firm in an effort to expand its North American business. European Aeronautic Defense and Space North America, whose parent company, EADS, is based in Paris, said it, too, is seeking new acquisitions in the US.
The Pentagon has encouraged foreign companies to pursue work with the US military in hopes of creating more competition for sales of goods and services.
"Globalisation of our market is not an option. It is a reality," Ashton Carter, the defence department's top acquisition official, said in a February speech. "We are committed to continue opening our markets while at the same time striking the appropriate balance with security concerns."
(In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post)