Originally formed in California in 1939 by Jack Northrop, the Northrop Corporation was reincorporated in Delaware in 1985.
In 1994, Northrop Aircraft bought Grumman Aerospace, which built the Apollo Lunar Module to create Northrop Grumman (NG). In 1996, the new company acquired Westinghouse Electronic Systems, a major manufacturer of radar systems, and Xetron Corporation. In 1997, the defense computer contractor Logicon was added, which had acquired Geodynamics Corporation in March 1996 and Syscon Corporation in February 1995.
In 1998, a merger between Northrop Grumman and competitor Lockheed Martin was considered but abandoned after resistance from the Department of Defense and Department of Justice. That same year, it acquired Inter-National Research Institute Inc. In 1999, the company acquired Teledyne Ryan, developer of surveillance systems and unmanned aircraft, California Microwave, Inc., and the Data Procurement Corporation. On March 19, 1999, Northrop Grumman announced to restate its fourth-quarter results downward to a net loss because of problems related to its dealings with start-up satellite launch company Kistler Aerospace Corp. In 1999, Northrop Grumman and SAIC created
AMSEC LLC as a joint venture, which grew "from $100 million in revenue in 2000 to approximately $500 million in fiscal year 2007."
In 2000, NG acquired Federal Data Corporation, Navia Aviation As, Comptek Research, Inc., and Sterling Software, Inc.
In 2001, the company acquired Litton Industries, a shipbuilder and defense electronics systems provider for the U.S. Navy. During the acquisition process, a new Delaware holding company,
NNG, Inc., was formed, which merged with Northrop Grumman through a one-for-one common shares exchange in April 2001. Both Northrop Grumman and Litton became subsidiaries of the new holding company. The original Northrop Grumman Corporation then changed its name to "Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation"; the holding company, NNG, Inc., changed its name to "Northrop Grumman Corporation". Later that year, Newport News Shipbuilding was added.
On November 1, 2001, Northrop Grumman restated its third-quarter profit after stopping work on two ships for American Classic Voyages, which filed for bankruptcy protection.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman acquired TRW Inc., which had acquired Braddock Dunn & McDonald (BDM) in 1997, and became the Space Technology sector based in Redondo Beach, CA, and the Mission Systems sector based in Reston, VA, with sole interest in their space systems and laser systems manufacturing. The Aeronautical division was sold to Goodrich, and the automotive divisions were spun off and retained the TRW name.
There have been 15 acquisitions from 1994 to 2003.
Northrop Grumman partnered with EADS from the mid-2000s to offer the KC-30 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft in the U.S. Air Force's KC-X tanker competition. In February 2008 the U.S. Air Force chose KC-30, but in September 2008 the Defense Department stopped the tanker program and in March 2010, Northrop Grumman announced it was withdrawing from the competition.
On January 1, 2006, Northrop Grumman opened its business sector called 'Technical Services'.Boeing collaborated on a design concept for NASA's upcoming Orion spacecraft (previously the Crew Exploration Vehicle), but the contract went to rival Lockheed Martin on August 31, 2006.
Northrop Grumman and
In 2006, Northrop Grumman had intended to bid for the U.S. Air Force's Next-Generation Bomber. Though it has not built a large manned aircraft since wrapping up B-2 Spirit production in the 1990s, the company has "been working hard to turn that perception around, with the skills and capabilities that back it up.". However, by 2009, the teams working on this were told to close up shop, as USAF focus turned to long range strike instead. Northrop Grumman was one of two teams competing for the Long Range Strike Bomber, and in October 2015 won the contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber.
On July 20, 2007, Northrop Grumman became the sole owner of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.
In 2007, Northrop Grumman created 'National Workforce Centers' as an alternative to Offshoring. Locations are Auburn, Alabama; Corsicana, Texas; Fairmont, West Virginia; Helena, Montana; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and Lebanon, Virginia. The Rapid City, South Dakota location closed in January 2012.
In July 2008, three of four Northrop Grumman employees (Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell) were freed during Operation Jaque after five years of captivity following their aircraft crash in the Colombian jungle. The fourth employee Tom Janis had been killed by the FARC shortly after the crash in 2003.
Rendering of the $8.7B James Webb Space Telescope
In January 2008, Northrop Grumman combined its Newport News and Ship Systems sectors into a new business unit named Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. On March 31, 2011, this was spun off as Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII).
2010 to present
In November 2010, NASA selected Northrop Grumman for consideration of potential contract awards for heavy lift launch vehicle system concepts, and propulsion technologies.
From 2013, Northrop Grumman participates in the DARPA Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program, and received $2.9 million for Phase 1 and $19 million for Phase 2. The TERN program attempts to launch and recover a UAV from mid-size ships to provide long distance intelligence gathering.
In July 2013, Northrop Grumman won a training-simulation contract potentially worth $490 million to support the U.S. Air Force's next-generation aerial warfare virtual-training network.
As of 2018, Northrop Grumman is the primary contractor for the James Webb Space Telescope.
In October 2015, the US Military announced it had awarded Northrop Grumman the contract for the successor to the B-1 and B-52, subsequently identified as the B-21. The initial value is $21.4 billion, and could eventually be worth up to $80 billion.
In September 2017, Northrop announced its intention to acquire missile and rocket manufacture Orbital ATK Inc for $9.2 billion: $7.8 billion in cash plus $1.4 billion in net debt. On November 29, 2017, the acquisition was approved by Orbital ATK stockholders and on June 6, 2018 the merger closed after final FTC approval. The acquired company assets and naming were absorbed and become a division named Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.