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EADS Retreats from U.S. Military

EADS’ loss of a contract for Air Force refueling tankers launched plans to build A320s at Airbus’ first U.S. plant, in Mobile.

EADS’ loss of a contract for Air Force refueling tankers launched plans to build A320s at Airbus’ first U.S. plant, in Mobile.

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.

EADS 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.

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

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