Europe's second largest armaments giant, number 7 in the world in 2006, was again the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, or EADS, with its main office in Amsterdam. The corporation consists of the airplane producer Airbus, the helicopter producer Eurocopter, the space branch Atrium, the business departments for military transporter planes as well as defence and security with the Eurofighter-Consortium. EADS is also the essential owner of the guided missiles producer MBDA. The largest single owner of EADS is the German Daimler Corporation with 22,52 percent of the shareholding capital. Further owners are Sogeade with Lagardère and the French state holding company Sogepa (together 27,53 percent), the Spanish state holding company SEPI (with 5,49 percent) as well as different institutions, private investors and colleagues (with 43,94 percent).
In 2007 EADS was able to achieve success with armaments contracts and exports in its 25 percent military component: 18 LUH helicopters were supplied to the US forces, Saudi-Arabia ordered the immensely high amount of 72 Eurofighters. This was the second export contract for the EADS fighter plane after Austria's contract for 15 Eurofighters.
Due to the exorbitant growth of weapons sales throughout the world up to 12,6 billion US dollars in 2006 - the year before EADS had exported weapons worth 9,6 billion dollars - the armaments giant moved up to first place among the firms with the greatest growth in weapons transfers. In 2007, EADS earned profits as high as 124 million dollars, partly because of delays in the A400M program. It is a matter of fact, that the profits will increase again in the coming years with the future exports of the military transporters.
A leading position on the world market is taken by the armaments producer MBDA, whose shareholder EADS has 37,5 percent of the capital. In 2007, MBDA has strengthened its position as »worldwide leading supplier of guided missile systems.« »Export contracts for defence systems supported from the ground and tank defence missiles have come in from the Near East and other regions«, cheered EADS in its business report for 2007.
In addition to the above mentioned weapons systems, EADS develops and produces carrier systems for atomic weapons of the French navy, mining systems and cluster bombs distributors. On its homepage, it advertises the missile launcher MLRS as well as the - »guided« MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System). The MBDA profits from the business with cluster bombs by means of the MLRS. The MLRS cluster bombs which were deployed in 2006 by the Israeli army in the war against Lebanon have an effect similar to that of land mines. Entire landscapes are contaminated with cluster bombs because of the extremely high number of unexploded bombs, whose number reaches 40 percent of the ammunition deployed.
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Article by Jürgen Grässlin
Translation by Virginia Edwards-Menz,
Armaments-Informations-Office (RüstungsInformationsBüro RIB e.V.)