Until recently, the European Aerospace, Defense and Space Company (EADS) was known mainly as the parent of the multinational aircraft company Airbus. When the U.S. Air Force announced in February 2008 that it would give a massive contract for new refueling tanker planes to a joint venture of Northrop Grumman and EADS, the European connection helped spark an uproar over the award, which many thought should have gone to the incumbent supplier, Boeing, which has made perennial complaints about the subsidies given to EADS and Airbus by European governments. The Air Force was overruled, and it appears that the $40 billion prize may indeed go to Boeing or else will be shared. EADS is also a major producer of civil and military helicopters, combat aircraft, missiles and space vehicles.
The political infighting between French and German interests in EADS tends to be news only in Europe, but international attention has been paid to an ongoing insider trading scandal that resulted in the 2006 resignation of the chief executives of EADS and Airbus. In 2008 French prosecutors began bringing charges against various current and former EADS executives implicated in the matter.