EADS Retreats from U.S. Military

If EADS hadn’t set its sights on a share of the massive U.S. defense budget, officials with the European Aeronautics Defence & Space Co. might never have started talking with Alabama and Mobile.

EADS’ chief planning officer told Bloomberg in December that a U.S. military contract is no longer a top priority.

Economic developers here can breathe a sigh of relief that the decision came now instead of a decade ago.

European Aeronautics Defence & Space Co. first started talking with state and Mobile area officials when EADS partnered with Lockheed Martin to pursue a contract to design and build a new aerial refueling tanker for the Air Force. It’s the stuff of legend in Mobile. EADS won; Boeing contested the victory, Boeing won.

But by then Mobile and EADS’ commercial side, Airbus, were well acquainted.

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Last summer Airbus broke ground for its first U.S. assembly line and the steel is rising high at Brookley Aeroplex.

Text by Nedra Bloom

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