Shot down

Airbus Should Fully Retreat from its Military Venture

Not such a polished plan.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Airbus has been pushing to grab a bigger slice of the arms market but E.U. defense budget cuts are jeopardizing its investment.

  • Facts


    • Airbus is selling off some of its specialist military companies.
    • The aviation company’s foray into land-based weaponry was turbulent.
    • It could generate up to €2 billion from the sales.
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A great idea was hatched. Airbus would expand, ascend to new heights and become a heavyweight in the arms industry. But, five years on, and after announcing plans to sell some parts of its military business, it’s time for the aviation giant to pull out of the ill-executed expansion.

The plan was devised when Airbus was known as EADS. As part of it, managers diligently bought up companies that produced electronics and technology for military forces, adding to the firm’s existing business of jet fighters and helicopters.

The logic was simple: If a country already planned to buy Eurofighters from Airbus, then the French-German company could also outfit the nation’s army. Military procurement contacts in each sector were, as a rule, identical.

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