Boeing and EADS signed a ballistic missile defence (BMD) agreement at the show - the first time the two companies have co-operated at corporate level. Before EADS personnel can begin work on the programme, however, a government-to-government technical assistance agreement (TAA) will need to be concluded. No details on technologies involved in the deal will be available until the TAA is in place. Both companies have also called on their respective governments to free international aerospace trade.

Boeing chairman Phil Condit says: "Effective air and missile defence is fundamental for the security of our nations and all NATO partners. This agreement allows Boeing and EADS to offer significant contributions to current NATO programmes and provides an important industrial framework for future defence programmes on both sides of the Atlantic."

EADS co-chief executive Philippe Camus says: "BMD is a great political and industrial opportunity to further the co-operation between transatlantic government and industry - and even beyond traditional transatlantic links."

Source: Flight International