European launch aid for the Airbus A330 — also known as KC-45 for the KC-X contract — makes Boeing’s supporters in Congress very upset. Some have proposed to legally restrict the Department of Defense from buying any aircraft that was launched with subsidized loans from European governments.
Now Boeing proposes to replace the presidential helicopter fleet with a licensed, US-made version of the AugustaWestland AW101.
We know the AW101 also benefited from launch aid. See transcript of 1992 discussion in the UK House of Commons:
Mr. Sainsbury : My Department has provided £60 million of launch aid for the civil version of the EH101. We shall help to promote export sales of the civil version through our overseas trade services and we are ready to respond to any requests for assistance in pursuing civil export sales prospects.
Update: EADS NA has released a statement about Boeing’s announcement.
“We’re pleased that Boeing has openly acknowledged thecontribution that international teams, products and platforms make to
nationalsecurity. For several years, Boeing and its allies have been harshly criticalof the participation of EADS North America in the KC-X tanker competition. Withthis announcement, we now expect Boeing to cease its shrill rhetoric andfinally allow the KC-X competition to focus on the merits of the tankerofferings.” U.S.