The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) is diversifying into the wind industry. Leveraging off more than 30 years' experience of high-performance composite materials in the defence and aeronautics industries, the company has opened a blade manufacturing plant at Marmande in France, on the Garonne River to the south-east of Bordeaux. The factory will produce blades of 25-45 metres for wind turbines with rated capacities up to 2 MW, gradually ramping up production to around 500 blades a year. In a second phase, EADS intends to produce 60 metre class blades for turbines of 5-6 MW, largely for offshore use, starting in 2011 or 2012 if there is sufficient demand. According to EADS, its advanced modelling techniques and sophisticated use of complex composites means it can significantly reduce the weight and cost of wind turbine blades.