Our Heritage

This section of the Northrop Grumman Corporation Web site represents the successful integration of nearly 20 marquee companies into an enterprise that covers the entire battlespace spectrum, from undersea to outer space and into cyberspace. The companies that became part of today’s Northrop Grumman achieved historic accomplishments, from transporting Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic to carrying astronauts to the moon’s surface and back.

Click the icons below or scroll down to read about significant dates in each organization’s history — milestones that together make up Northrop Grumman’s proud and unparalleled heritage.

Northrop Aircraft Corporation -- Founded in 1939 Grumman Corporation -- Acquired in 1994 Westinghouse Defense Electronics -- Acquired in 1996 Logicon Corporation -- Acquired in 1997 Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical -- Acquired in 1999 Litton Industries -- Acquired in 2001 Newport News Shipbuilding -- Acquired in 2001 TRW Incorporated -- Acquired in 2002 To learn about other acquisitions during this period, cilck here.

Northrop Aircraft Incorporated

A leading designer and manufacturer of strikingly original aircraft, this company pioneered the Flying Wing concept, which culminated in the B-2 stealth bomber

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John K. “Jack” Northrop, a skilled and innovative designer, forms Northrop Aircraft Incorporated in Hawthorne, Calif.
Northrop Aircraft logo
Jack Northrop
N-3PB Military Seaplane
XB-35 flying wing
P-61 Black Widow
F-5 Tiger Supersonic Fighter
SM-62 Snark online intercontinental guided missile
T-38 Supersonic Trainer
B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
Northrop builds its first aircraft, the N-3PB patrol bomber, for the Norwegian Air Force
The P-61 Black Widow night fighter enters combat
First flight of the XB-35 flying wing
First flight of the successor to the P-61, the F-89 Scorpion, a heavily-armed, all-weather fighter-interceptor and one of the world's first jet fighters
Northrop acquires Radioplane Company, manufacturer of target drones
First flight of the F-5, a supersonic fighter combining low cost, ease of maintenance and great versatility. Northrop delivers the first fighter to the U.S. Air Force in 1964. The company develops several versions of the plane, which will be used by militaries in more than 30 countries
To reflect the changing character of its business, Northrop Aircraft Incorporated changes its name to Northrop Corporation
The SM-62 Snark, the first online intercontinental guided missile, enters service
The T-38 supersonic trainer enters service. It will be used to train more than 68,000 U.S. Air Force pilots and thousands of foreign pilots
Northrop delivers the first F/A-18 Hornet shipset
First flight of the F-20 Tigershark, an advanced version of the F-5; this aircraft could be airborne 60 seconds after an alert, the fastest scramble time of any fighter in the world
First flight of the B-2 stealth bomber, a descendent of Jack Northrop's flying wing design
First flight of the YF-23, another aircraft with stealth characteristics that is unofficially known as Black Widow II
The company receives the Robert J. Collier Trophy (with the Industry Team and the United States Air Force) for the design, development, production, and flight testing of the B-2 aircraft. The Collier Award is the most prestigious aviation award, annually given for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics
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The defense industry in the early 1990s was in flux.
Given the new challenges facing the world, defense enterprises knew they either had to grow or be acquired. The Northrop Corporation elected to grow. The first step was to acquire Grumman Corporation in 1994.

Grumman Corporation

A premier military aircraft systems integrator and builder of the Lunar Module that first delivered men to the surface of the moon

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Leroy Grumman, Jake Swirbul, Bill Schwendler, E. Clint Towl and Ed Poor start a new enterprise, Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Company, in an abandoned auto garage
Grumman Corporation logo
Grumman XFF-1
F6F Hellcat
Lunar Module
Apollo Astronauts
The XFF-1 is the first Navy fighter with retractable landing gear (which Grumman designed) and fully enclosed cockpit
Grumman expands its operations to Bethpage, N.Y.
First flight of the Grumman Wildcat incorporating the sto-wing design
Grumman becomes the first aircraft company to receive the Navy "E" flag for production efficiency
Grumman introduces the F6F Hellcat; Hellcat pilots account for 55 percent of all enemy aircraft destroyed by the Navy and Marines in World War II
The Grumman F9F Panther jet prototype makes its first flight
Leroy Grumman receives the Presidential Medal of Merit for wartime production
First flight of the Jaguar, the first variable sweep-wing fighter
The A6 Intruder attack aircraft prototype makes its first flight
E-2A Hawkeye's first flight; this aircraft becomes the U.S. Navy's only airborne early warning and control platform
First flight of the EA-6 Intruder, a naval attack aircraft operating from the carrier fleet
The Vietnam War sees the A-6 Intruder, the world's only all-weather attack bomber used by Navy and Marine Corps squadrons. In the last days of the war, the F-14, in its first deployment with USS Enterprise, flies top cover during the evacuation of Saigon
The Apollo Lunar Module carries man to the surface of the moon
The EA-6B Prowler makes its first flight
First flight of the EF111-A, designed to detect, sort, identify and nullify different enemy radars.
Joint STARS prototype makes its first flight
Acquired by Northrop Corporation; today it is part of the Aerospace Systems and Information Systems sectors
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Westinghouse Electric Corporation

A world leader in the development and production of sophisticated electronic systems for the nation's defense, civil aviation, and other international and domestic applications
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Westinghouse’s Radio Division moves to Baltimore from Massachusetts
Westinghouse logo
Lunar Module miniaturized black-and-white camera
APG-68 Radar
AN/ANPG-66 radar for F-16 fighter
AWACS long-range surveillance radar
Westinghouse more than doubles its manufacturing area in its Baltimore location to accommodate production of the highly-secret SCR-270 aircraft warning radar
An SCR-270 radar detects the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor; its warnings go unheeded because of high-level uncertainty about the new technology's reliability. The first ground-based radar built for the Army Signal Corps, the SCR-270 will be the only model to stay in action throughout all of World War II
1941 - 1945
The Radio Division manufactures approximately 50 products during the war. Until 1942, most of this is radio equipment; later production shifts to radar products. Wartime production includes ground-based and naval radio and radar, electronic fuses, and torpedoes
The company patents the key technologies for pulse doppler radar, making possible airborne systems that can detect both stationary and moving targets, determine range, and distinguish targets from background "clutter." Pulse Doppler is the basis for all airborne radars in use today
The company designs and develops a miniaturized black-and-white camera that captures images from the Lunar Module
The world's first solid-state radar, the AN/APQ-120, is produced by the company
The company produces the AN/ANPG-66 radar for F-16 fighter
Westinghouse delivers the first E-3 AWACS long-range surveillance radar
Westinghouse is selected to design, build and test the radar for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today, it is part of the Electronic Systems sector
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Logicon Corporation

Provider of military and commercial information systems and services to meet the needs of its national defense, civil and industrial customers

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Eight engineers who work for Southern California aerospace companies found Logicon Incorporated with the goal of applying computer technology to national defense needs
Logicon logo
LMS-11ST Link Monitor System for Link-11 Kineplex and Single-tone
NASA VMS Simulator
MSAC Console
NASA Ground Operations
MSAC Group Virtual Reality Center
First prime contract win to directly support the Tactical Data System, beginning the company's long and successful relationship with the Navy
Logicon lands the Air Force contract to support the Titan III space booster program
The company notches its first competitive contract award win – the ICBM Advanced Targeting Study for the Air Force
Logicon produces process control systems for the U.S. Postal Service - including computers, electronics and software - that will automate mail handling at 21 bulk mail centers throughout the United States. The company develops software for the Air Force's ballistic missile program, verifies and validates software for Air Force weapon systems, and develops large-scale simulation systems for the Navy
Logicon acquires R&D Associates, whose focus is on policy issues, research into nuclear weapons effects, analysis of national intelligence collection systems and energy problems. This acquisition increases company's size by about 50 percent and adds a new customer base
The company acquires Operating Systems Incorporated; Chase, Rosen and Wallace; Eagle Technology; and Fourth Generation Technology Incorporated, which brings expertise in message text handling, information dissemination, interoperability, and fourth-generation software programming languages. During this period, the company supports the Strategic Defense Initiative and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Acquires Ultrasystems
Acquires Syscon Corporation, which specializes in support to the Navy, most notably on the AEGIS program and the Naval Sea Systems Command.
Acquires Geodynamics Corporation
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
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Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical

A world leader in the design, development and manufacture of unmanned airborne reconnaissance, surveillance, deception and target systems

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1922 T. Claude Ryan founds the Ryan Flying Company
Ryan Aeronautical logo
Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis"
Charles Lindbergh at the controls of his Ryan-built Spirit of St. Louis over San Diego
Ryan X-13 Vertijet vertical-takeoff-and-landing high-performance combat aircraft
Ryan BQM-34
RQ-4A Global Hawk
1925 The company is incorporated as Ryan Airlines with partner B. F. Mahoney
T. Claude Ryan establishes a separate Ryan Aeronautical Company
A group of St. Louis investors asks Ryan if he can build a plane for a nonstop transatlantic trip within 60 days. He accepts the challenge and produces the Spirit of St. Louis, which Charles Lindbergh flies across the Atlantic
1928 Siemens, which wishes to establish its own distributorship in the United States, buys out Ryan for $75,000
1931 With the funds received from the Siemens purchase, Ryan starts the Ryan School of Aeronautics; the school will train thousands of World War II Army pilots, very likely becoming the largest contract flying school in the nation
Ryan Aeronautical Company is formed; the Ryan School of Aeronautics eventually becomes a subsidiary
First flight of the Ryan ST, the first design by the new company
The experimental YO-51 Dragonfly observation craft pioneers short-takeoff-and-landing techniques
The company wins important experimental aircraft contracts and is one of the early leaders in the emerging missile and unpiloted-aircraft fields. During this period, Ryan also pioneers Doppler systems and lunar landing radar
1948 Ryan wins a competition for a new jet-powered Air Force target, originally known as the Q-2. This target becomes know as the “Firebee”
1956 The Air Force sponsors the Ryan X-13 Vertijet vertical-takeoff-and-landing high-performance combat aircraft
1959 The Q-2 Firebee is upgraded to its definitive airframe configuration and is given the designation of BQM-34
1962 The Cuban missile crisis results in a program to equip the Ryan BQM-34 with a camera after the loss of a U-2 aircraft over Cuba
1965-1975 During the Vietnam conflict, more than 1,000 Ryan “Lightning Bug” Remotely Piloted Vehicles fly 3,435 combat missions
1968 Ryan is acquired by Teledyne Incorporated
Ryan develops the AQM-98A Compass Cope R High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This vehicle sets a world jet UAV record by flying 28 hours 11 minutes 12 seconds, a record that eventually is broken by the company's RQ-4A Global Hawk
1996 Allegheny merges with Teledyne and Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical becomes an operating division of Allegheny-Teledyne Incorporated
1998 First flight of the RQ-4A Global Hawk, a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide military field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today it is part of the Aerospace Systems sector
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Litton Industries

A global electronics and information technology enterprise, and one of the nation's leading full-service design, engineering, construction, and life cycle supporters of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and international navies

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Charles Bates "Tex" Thornton founds Electro Dynamics Corporation; one month later, the company changes its name to Litton Industries after acquiring a small electron tube company from Charles Litton
Litton Industries logo
Aegis-Class Destroyer
Night Vision Goggles
FAA Training Center
Lightweight inertial navigation system for aircraft becomes operational, paving the way for future success in that area
Installation of a groundbreaking inertial guidance device in Grumman's A-6 Intruder and E-2C Hawkeye, and Lockheed's P-3 Orion. This navigation system becomes Litton's signature product
Litton acquires Western Geophysical Company of America, giving the company a strong position in seismic exploration
Litton purchases Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, paving the way for stellar success in shipbuilding
More than 10 Litton components are utilized on the 12 two-man flights that compose Project Gemini. The project's purpose is to test astronauts' ability to maneuver spacecraft by manual control, a vital precursor to the Apollo moon missions
Ingalls begins ship production in newly built modular construction facility, a method Ingalls pioneers in the U.S. Modular shipbuilding allows pre-outfitting of the interior prior to the final joining of the sections that form the hull; also this year, the company lands the largest single contract in the history of American shipbuilding -- $2.1 billion for 30 Navy Spruance-class destroyers
Ingalls designs, builds and delivers 41 surface combat ships to the U.S. Navy, more than all other domestic shipyards combined
Litton builds Ticonderoga-class ships with Aegis weapons systems, the most advanced air defense, radar and missile system in the world at the time
The company becomes a major supplier of night vision goggles to the U.S. Army and law enforcement agencies
Litton produces its 20,000th inertial navigation system, a milestone in aviation history
The company creates the first laser radar used in space as part of the U.S. Department of Defense's Strategic Defense Initiative
Litton acquires companies to strengthen its presence in information systems, marine electronics and commercial electronics
The company acquires Avondale shipyard, thus strengthening its position in support vessels and shipbuilding
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today it is part of the Shipbuilding, Electronic Systems and Information Systems sectors
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Newport News Shipbuilding

The nation's sole designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines

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Collis P. Huntington charters the shipyard, first known as the Chesapeake Dry Dock & Construction Company
Newport News Shipbuilding Logo
1910 -- In the waters off Newport News, Eugene Ely successfully flies his Curtiss-Hudson plane off the cruiser Birmingham, proving the feasibility of the aircraft carrier.
Overhead Gantry Crane
Carrier Deck Island
Ship Repair Services
Nimitz-Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier
Los Angeles-Class Submarine
Newport News Worker
Virginia-Class Submarine
Newport News Shipbuilding delivers its first ship, a tugboat named Dorothy
Newport News delivers three warships to the U.S. Navy – Nashville, Wilmington and Helena
President Theodore Roosevelt sends 16 battleships on an around-the-world voyage to demonstrate United States military might; Newport News has built 7 of these ships
1907- 1923
Newport News builds 6 of the Navy's 22 dreadnought warships - Delaware, Texas, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Maryland and West Virginia.; all but the first will see service in World War II
In the waters off Newport News, Eugene Ely successfully flies his Curtiss-Hudson plane off the cruiser Birmingham, proving the feasibility of the aircraft carrier
Newport News builds Yorktown and Enterprise, two of the most famous fighting ships of WW II
Ranger, the first ship to be designed as an aircraft carrier from the keel up, is delivered to the U.S. Navy
The Navy orders seven additional aircraft carriers and four cruisers from the company
Newport News receives the Navy’s prestigious "E" pennant for its tremendous contributions during the World War II and excellence in ship construction
Newport News builds the famous passenger liner United States, which sets a transatlantic speed record that stands today
Together with Westinghouse and the Navy, the company develops and builds a prototype nuclear reactor for a carrier propulsion system
The company launches Robert E. Lee, its first nuclear-powered Polaris ballistic missile submarine. The Shark, the company’s first nuclear-powered attack submarine, is launched early the following year.
Newport News partners with the Navy to design and launch the first nuclear-powered supercarrier, Enterprise, "the largest, most powerful, most modern ship of all time"
Newport News merges with Tenneco Corporation
The company again expands its operations, investing $250 million in the development of a new North Yard; in the new yard, Newport News builds two of the largest tankers ever constructed in the western hemisphere and also constructs three liquefied natural gas carriers
The shipyard turns out a variety of Navy products, including Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers and Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines
Newport News tops the $1 billion mark in revenues for the first time
Tenneco initiates the spinoff of Newport News into an independent company; on December 12, 1996, Newport News begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today it is part of the Shipbuiliding sector
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TRW Incorporated

A leading developer of military and civil space systems and satellite payloads, as well as a leading global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services

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Cleveland Cap Screw acquires rights to Thomson Electric Welding Company patents and begins production
TRW logo
Thompson Products Inc., which makes automobile valves
Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge on the cover of TIME Magazine
Minuteman III ICBM
Titan I ICBM
Pioneer 1
Lunar Module with TRW's Descent Engine
Pioneer 10
MTHEL -- Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2)
NPOESS Satellite
Pioneering automobile entrepreneur Alexander Winton acquires controlling shares and takes control of the newly named Electric Welding Products Company
Under the visionary leadership of Charles E. Thompson, the company name changes to the Steel Products Company and finally to Thompson Products Inc., which makes automobile valves
Charles Lindbergh chooses Thompson’s sodium-cooled valves for use in the Spirit of St. Louis
Scientific innovators Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge form the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation and join forces with Thompson Products
The company, later called TRW, wins a contract to oversee the U.S. Air Force ICBM program
Pioneer 1 becomes the first spacecraft built by an industrial contractor
The company supplies lunar module descent engines for Apollo moon-landing missions
TRW designs DSCS II, a global military communications network
Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, becomes the first manmade object to leave the solar system
TRW builds the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory to collect cosmic data
Milstar, the next generation of military communications satellites, is launched. A TRW-led team provides the low-data-rate communications payload
Pioneer 6 records 30 years in space as the world's oldest operating spacecraft
A TRW laser shoots down a short-range rocket in flight
The TRW-built Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals a wealth of new discoveries, including some of the most distant objects ever seen in the universe
The Tactical High Energy Laser is the first system to repeatedly detect, track and destroy salvos of rockets fired in succession
Acquired by Northrop Grumman; today it is part of the Aerospace Systems and Information Systems sectors
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Other Acquisitions: 1998-2008

During this period, Northrop Grumman also added these enterprises to the company (year):
Inter-National Research Institute (1998) — Specialists in command and control, tracking, data fusion, and mapping for the Department of Defense; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
California Microwave Systems (1999) — Specialists in airborne reconnaissance and surveillance systems, government ground-based satellite communications systems, communications gateway systems, and mission planning; today it is part of the Electronic Systems sector
Data Procurement Corporation (1999) — Providers of IT services and support to the Department of Defense and various intelligence agencies within the U.S. Government; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Navia Aviation AS (2000) — Norwegian electronics company that developed, manufactured and delivered systems for air traffic navigation and surveillance applications; today it is part of the Electronic Systems sector
Comptek Research Incorporated (2000) — A leading supplier of electronic warfare and information dominance technologies for U.S. and international defense customers; today it is part of all sectors
Federal Data Corporation (2000) — A leading systems integrator and supplier of information technology to the federal government; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Sterling Software Incorporated (2000) — Provider of information technology services to the federal government's defense and intelligence agencies; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Aerojet General Corporation's Electronics and Information Systems Group (2001) — Manufacturer of spaceborne sensors for early warning systems, weather systems, and ground systems; builder of "smart" weapons technology for U.S. defense programs; today it is part of the Electronic Systems sector
Fibersense Technology Corporation (2002) — Designer and manufacturer of precision fiber optic gyroscopes, inertial measurement units, and sensor components for missile, aircraft, sea, and land applications; today it is part of the Electronic Systems sector
XonTech (2003) — Science and technology firm specializing in missile defense, and sensor and intelligence data analysis; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Illgen Simulation Technologies (2003) — Specialist in software development and test, navigation and communications; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Integic Corporation (2005) — An information technology provider specializing in enterprise health and business process management solutions; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
Essex Corporation (2007) — Provider of signal processing services and products and advanced optoelectronic imaging for U.S. government intelligence and defense customers; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
3001 International (2008) — Provider of geospatial data production and analysis, including airborne imaging, surveying, mapping and geographic information systems for domestic and international government intelligence, defense and civilian customers; today it is part of the Information Systems sector
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Northrop Grumman Heritage Advertising

To view, click on either the image or the title below (in PDF Format)

Ryan Aeronautical "The Whole World Knows" ad
Ryan Aeronautical
"The Whole World Knows"

U.S. Postal Service
Commemorative Stamp Collection

Northrop Grumman Legacy Aircraft part of "American Advances in Aviation"

On July 29, 2005, the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of commemorative postage stamps depicting 10 classic American aircraft from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Two of the planes listed are legacy Northrop Grumman aircraft: the Grumman F6F Hellcat and the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing.

F6F Hellcat
The carrier-based Grumman F6F Hellcat met with perfection the requirements that had dictated its simple and straightforward design. The robust and maneuverable fighter was easy to mass produce and maintain.
YB-49 Flying Wing
The Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing, a futuristic experimental jet bomber, was designed by Jack Northrop in the late 1940s and was the precursor for the design of the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

The carrier-based Grumman F6F Hellcat met with perfection the requirements that had dictated its simple and straightforward design. The robust and maneuverable fighter was easy to mass produce and maintain.

The Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing, a futuristic experimental jet bomber, was designed by Jack Northrop in the late 1940s and was the precursor for the design of the B-2 Stealth Bomber.


Our Heritage in Space:
Northrop Grumman's Vital Role in Apollo Mission Success

Our Heritage in Space

July 20, 1969: A historic day for America. While the world watched, astronaut Neil Armstrong took mankind’s first steps on the moon. Years later, as the breathtaking success of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission is remembered and celebrated, several heritage companies of today’s Northrop Grumman are recognized for the vital roles they played in the achievement. Read More