Airbus, previously EADS, is one of the largest arms companies in the world. This is despite its arms sales comprising around 14% of total company sales. Its headquarters are in France and it also has substantial production in Germany and, to a lesser extent, Spain and the UK.
It has three divisions:
- Airbus – commercial aircraft
- Airbus Helicopters – civil, “parapublic” and military helicopters
- Airbus Defence & Space – Military Aircraft (including 46% of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft programme), Space Systems, Connected Intelligence, and Unamanned Aerial Systems.
In addition to these, Airbus has a large stake (37.5%) in MBDA, Europe’s dominant missile manufacturer.
The Eurofighter Typhoon has been a core part of the Saudi military’s devastating attacks on Yemen over the past six years. Attacks have also used MBDA’s Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles. For more information, see CAAT’s Stop Arming Saudi Arabia campaign.
In 2012 the Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation into a subsidiary of the company, GPT Special Project Management, after allegations of bribes to Saudi Arabian officials to win a communications contract for the Saudi National Guard. In July 2020, the SFO charged GPT and three individuals.
More information on Airbus’ borders activities can be found in The Business of Building Walls (page 31, in particular).