Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation
Traded as NYSE: NOC
S&P 500 Component
  • Northrop Corporation: 1939-1994
  • Grumman Corporation: 1930–1994
Founded 1994 (1994)
Headquarters 2980 Fairview Park Drive, West Falls Church, Virginia, United States
Area served
Key people
Wes Bush (Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President)[1]
Products Military aircraft
Military vessels
Missile defense systems
Information technology
Advanced electronic sensors and systems
Revenue Decrease US$23.526 billion[2] (2015)
Decrease US$3.076 billion[2] (2015)
Profit Decrease US$1.990 billion[2] (2015)
Total assets Decrease US$24.454 billion[2] (2015)
Total equity Decrease US$5.522 billion[2] (2015)
Number of employees
65,000[2] (2015)

Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American global aerospace and defense technology company formed by Northrop's 1994 purchase of Grumman. The company was named as the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world in 2015.[3] Northrop Grumman employs over 68,000 people worldwide.[4] It reported revenues of $23.526 billion in 2015.[5] Northrop Grumman ranks No. 124 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations[6] and ranks in the top ten military-friendly employers.[7] It is headquartered in West Falls Church, Virginia.

Business sectors

Northrop Grumman is made up of three business sectors: Aerospace Systems, Mission Systems, and Technology Services.[8]

Aerospace Systems

Northrop Grumman manufactured the B-2 Spirit strategic bomber.
A BQM-74 Chukar unmanned aerial drone launches from a US Navy vessel

Aerospace Systems, headquartered in Redondo Beach, California produces aircraft, spacecraft, high-energy laser systems and microelectronics for the US and other nations. This includes surveillance and reconnaissance, protected communications, intelligence, battle management, strike operations, electronic warfare, and missile defense to Earth observation, space science and space exploration.[9] The B-2 Spirit strategic bomber, the E-8C Joint STARS surveillance aircraft, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, and the T-38 Talon supersonic trainer are used by the US Air Force. The US Army uses Northrop Grumman's RQ-5 Hunter unmanned air vehicle, which has been in operational use since 1995. The U.S. Navy uses Northrop Grumman-built aerial vehicles such as the BQM-74 Chukar, RQ-4 Global Hawk based BAMS UAS, Grumman C-2 Greyhound, Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, and the EA-6B Prowler. Northrop Grumman provides major components and assemblies for different aircraft such as F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler.[10]

Electronic Systems

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, headquartered in Linthicum, Maryland creates military radar, sensors and related products, including C4I radar systems for air defense, Airspace Management radar systems such as AMASS, and battlefield surveillance systems like the Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL). Tactical aircraft sensors include the AN/APG-68 radar, the AN/APG-80 advanced agile beam fire control radar Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), and the scalable agile beam radar (SABR) AESA upgrade for the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the AN/APG-77 AESA radar for the F-22 Raptor, and the AN/APG-81 AESA radar for the F-35 Lightning II, and the AN/AAQ-37 electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) for the F-35, and the APQ-164 Passive Electronically Scanned Array (PESA) radar for the B-1 Lancer. Electronic Systems produces and maintains the AWACS aerial surveillance systems for the U.S., the United Kingdom, NATO, Japan, and others. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the development and integration of the Air Force's $2-billion Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program. Many other smaller products are made by Northrop Grumman, such as night vision goggles and secure communications equipment.

Information Systems

Information Systems, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, supports the U.S. ballistic missile program, integrates various command, control and intelligence systems and provides technical and management services to governmental and military customers, all with an emphasis on cyber security.

Technical Services

The Technical Services sector headquartered in McNair, Virginia (with a Herndon mailing address[11]), works on logistics solutions "from modernization and sustainment, to supply chain management, training and simulation, and automated test equipment".[12] Vinnell, a Technical Services Northrop Grumman subsidiary, provides training and communications for the military. In 2003, it landed a $48 million contract to train the Iraqi Army.[13] In 2005 the company won a $2 billion contract with Virginia to overhaul most of the state's IT operations.[14] Later that year, The United Kingdom paid $1.2 billion in a contract with the company to provide maintenance of the country's defensive radar.[15]

Northrop Grumman performs various functions in the War on Drugs. The company sends planes to spray herbicides on suspected cocaine fields in Colombia and opium poppy fields in Afghanistan.[16][17]

Affiliated companies and partners

Remotec, a subsidiary, is the foremost manufacturer of remote control vehicles for explosive ordnance disposal and hazardous material handling. A UK-based subsidiary, Park Air Systems, provides VHF and UHF ground-to-air communications systems for the civil and defense markets. Northrop Grumman has also worked closely with Antenna Associates, Inc., a manufacturer of Identification friend or foe (IFF)/Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) antennas located in Massachusetts.[18]

In August 2007, Northrop Grumman acquired Scaled Composites in which it had previously owned a 40% stake.[19]

In 2008, Northrop Grumman began working with DHS Systems LLC, manufacturer of the Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) in New York, as part of the U.S. Army's Standard Integrated Command Post System program.[20]


Originally formed in California in 1939 by Jack Northrop, the Northrop Corporation was reincorporated in Delaware in 1985.[21]


In 1994, Northrop Aircraft bought Grumman Aerospace, famous for building 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.

The assembly line for Northrop P-61 Black Widows at the Northrop plant in Hawthorne, California in World War II. Center wings and fuselages take shape on the left, with more nearly finished complete ships on the right.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] 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."[25]


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.[26]

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.[27]

Northrop Grumman partnered with EADS from the mid-2000s to offer the KC-30 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft[28] in the U.S. Air Force's KC-X tanker competition.[29] In February 2008 the U.S. Air Force chose KC-30,[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.[31]

On January 1, 2006, Northrop Grumman opened its business sector called 'Technical Services'. Northrop Grumman and 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.

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.".[32] 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.[33][34]

On July 20, 2007, Northrop Grumman became the sole owner of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.[35]

In 2007, Northrop Grumman created 'National Workforce Centers' as an alternative to Offshoring.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38]

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.[39] On March 31, 2011, this was spun off as Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (NYSE: HII).[40]

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.[41]

From 2013, Northrop Grumman participates in the DARPA Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program, and received $2.9 million for Phase 1[42] and $19 million for Phase 2.[43][44][45] The TERN program attempts to launch and recover a UAV from mid-size ships to provide long distance intelligence gathering.[46]

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.[47]

As of 2014 Northrop Grumman is the primary contractor for the James Webb Space Telescope.[48]

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.[49]

Corporate governance

From 1990-2003, before the merger with Grumman in 1994, Kent Kresa was the CEO of the company, who led the serial-acquisition strategy with a total of 15 additional acquisitions from 1994-2003, including Litton, Logicon, Westinghouse's defense electronics business, Ryan Aeronautical and Newport News Shipbuilding, and TRW. He retired in 2003 at age 65.

In 2003 Ronald Sugar, the former chief operating officer, took over as CEO.[50] Effective Oct. 1, 2003, Sugar also served as the company chairman of the board.[51]

In January 2010, Wes Bush succeeded as CEO and became company president.[52]

Corporate headquarters

Since 2011, Northrop Grumman's headquarters are in West Falls Church, Virginia (previously Jefferson), unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia.[53][54][55]

Until 2010 headquartered in Century City, Los Angeles, California,[56][57] it announced plans on January 4, 2010 to move to the Washington Metropolitan Area by 2011,[58] to be closer to government customers.[59] CEO Wesley Bush stated that the company needed to be located close to Capitol Hill lawmakers and officials from intelligence and military communities.[60] Northrop Grumman considered sites in Washington, DC and in suburbs in Maryland and Virginia.[59] The Los Angeles Business Journal wrote "In a way, the announcement was not a surprise" due to the trend of aerospace companies moving to the DC area, the fact that the new CEO is from West Virginia and that CEOs often move corporate headquarters to places that they want the headquarters located. A Los Angeles area economic development consultant described the move announcement as a "structural failure at all levels for Los Angeles County."[60]

District of Columbia economic development officials were "pitching the city's urban hipness and proximity to Capitol Hill power brokers" to Northrop Grumman.Maryland promoted its highly educated workforce and its large number of federal facilities, while Virginia marketed itself as a state with relatively low taxes.[61]

In July 2010, the company announced its purchase of an existing building in Fairfax County and its move in the summer of 2011. It planned to consolidate its Century City headquarters and its existing Arlington County, Virginia offices into the new headquarters. It employed about 40,000 in the Washington DC metropolitan area, including DC and surrounding Maryland and Virginia.[53]

In November 2015, Gloria Flach was named COO. She is the former president of the company's electric services sector.[62]

Accolades and criticism

Northrop Grumman was named Forbes's Company of the Year in 2002.[50] Forbes's announcement credited the company with "master[ing] the art of innovation."[63] Since then, it no longer appears on their list of America's 400 Best Big Companies.[64]

Since 2005 Northrop Grumman credits itself with sponsoring educational programs[65] and donating thousands of dollars to various charities.[66][67]

Many members of the U.S. government have attended company events and spoken highly of the company and its contributions, for example John McCain.[68] In December 2007, Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded the prestigious Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership, the only Presidential award recognizing companies for outstanding achievement in employee and community relations.[69]

Environmental record

In 2000, Northrop Grumman was designated a Primary Responsible Party under federal Superfund laws at 13 hazardous waste sites and under state Superfund laws at eight sites.[24] The corporation has also been linked to 52 superfund toxic waste sites.[70] Based on 2008 data, Northrop Grumman was the 62nd-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, per the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Northrop Grumman facilities released more than 23,798 pounds of toxic chemicals into the air in that year.[71]

In 2002, the Bethpage Community Park in Bethpage, New York, owned by the company until the 1960s, was closed due to soil contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).[72] The company dumped cadmium, arsenic, chromium-tainted sludge, solvents, paints and PCBs at the site between 1949 and 1962.[72] Additionally, two toxic chemical plumes centered under Bethpage Community Park and other surrounding land formerly owned by Grumman or Northrop Grumman have spread to under neighboring houses.[72] In November 2013, the Bethpage Water District filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Northrop Grumman in Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York for contaminating the groundwater in Bethpage.[73]

In 2003, the company was among 84 parties with which the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the state of New York reached an estimated US$15 million settlement for the rehabilitation of the Mattiace Petrochemical Company Superfund site in Glen Cove, Long Island.[74] In the same year, Northrop Grumman agreed to pay $33,214 after EPA inspectors found hazardous waste violations at the Capistrano test site.[75]

As a response to many of the previous claims, the company has stood up as an organization for social responsibility. In 2008, Northrop Grumman launched its Environmental Sustainability program and an EHS Leadership Council, to advance its commitment to environmental performance both internally and externally . The Greenhouse Gas Inventory Project was launched to accurately quantify company-wide greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the carbon footprint of Northrop Grumman operations, in anticipation of upcoming regulations.[76]

In October 2010 the company was named one of Computerworld's Top 12 Green-IT Organizations for its large-scale data center migration effort.[77]

Political contributions and governmental ties

From 1990-2002, Northrop Grumman contributed $8.5 million to federal campaigns.[78] According to PAC summary data compiled by Source Watch, the company gave US$1,011,260 to federal candidates in 2005-2006 election cycle, compared to $10,612,837 given by all defense contractors in the same cycle.[79] This donation amount was only behind that of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin in the defense industry. The majority of the contributions, 63%, went to Republicans.[80] Former Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems chief James G. Roche served as Secretary of the Air Force for two years under George W. Bush. Roche would eventually be nominated to head the Army, but would be forced to withdraw his nomination among accusations of mismanaging a contract with Boeing and of failing to properly handle the Air Force sexual assault scandals of 2003.[81] According to CorpWatch, "at least seven former officials, consultants, or shareholders of Northrop Grumman" have held posts "in the Bush administration...including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Pentagon Comptroller Dov S. Zakheim, and Sean O'Keefe, director of NASA." Wolfowitz and Libby have both since left the government amid scandals.[82]


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Northrop was the target of several high-profile criminal and civil cases.[83]

In 1995, Robert Ferro, an employee for TRW Inc., a company Northrop Grumman acquired in 2002, discovered that satellite components manufactured for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) were faulty and likely to fail in operation. TRW suppressed Ferro's report of the problem and hid the information from the USAF, even after a satellite in space equipped with the faulty components experienced serious anomalies. Ferro later sued Northrop Grumman in federal court under the federal whistle-blower law.[84]

In 1999, the company was sued for knowingly giving the Navy defective aircraft. This suit sought $210 million in damages.[85] Ten years later, on April 2, 2009, Northrop Grumman agreed to pay $325 million to settle the suit.[86] Ferro was awarded $48.8 million of the settlement. Northrop Grumman stated, "it believed that TRW had 'acted properly under its contracts' and that the company had substantive defenses against the claims."[87] In 2001, federal investigators probed NG for fraud of more than $100 million, systematic overcharging for radar jammers and other high-tech devices used in the B-1 bomber, the F-15 fighter and the B-2 Stealth bomber.[88] In 2003, the company was sued for overcharging the U.S. government for space projects in the 1990s.[89] Northrop Grumman paid $111.2 million to settle out of court.[90]

From August 25 through September 2, 2010, Virginia's computer system operated by NG, under a $2.4 billion contract, went into a week-long computer outage resulting in as many as 45,000 citizens not being able to renew their drivers licenses prior to their expiration. Computer systems for 26 of the state's 89 agencies were affected and Governor Bob McDonnell announced that some data may be permanently lost.[91][92] In 2010 Northrop Grumman apologized for the outage and said to fund an investigation.[93]

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Violations

U.S. State Department investigators found that Litton Industries, a subsidiary acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2000, had provided portions of source code used by guidance and navigation system interfaces aboard Air Force One to a company in Russia in 1998. Northrop Grumman agreed to pay a $15 million fine for 110 violations, occurring between September 1998 and November 1998, of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).[94]

Additionally, documents filed by the State Department state that between 1994 and 2003, Northrop Grumman failed to notify the U.S. State Department about the computer guidance systems also being transferred to Angola, Indonesia, Israel, China, Ukraine and Yemen.[95]

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  • Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II. Cypress, California: Dana T. Parker Books, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
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