GENERAL DYNAMICS

GD, today a vast multifaceted corporation, was formed 1947 by John Jay Hopkins. At first a company, it became a corporation when on 25 April 1952 it bought Electric Boat Co., which in 1946 had purchased Canadair. GD purchased majority holding in Convair, which became a division 29 April 1954. CV (Convair) comprised 5 divisions: Convair (aircraft) and Astronautics (Atlas ICBM and spacecraft) at San Diego, Fort Worth (aircraft), Pomona (surface-to-air missiles) and Electronics (San Diego). Convair developed F-102 (with difficulty) and far better F-106 interceptors. Venture into civil jetliners with CV-880 and -990 was technically successful but a marketing disaster, returning a net loss exceeding $450 m, then a record for a single product. Fort Worth ceased production of giant B-36 in August 1954 but for a further 8 years had extensive B-36 modification contracts; also handled challenging programme for B-58 Hustler supersonic bomber and, from 1960, F-111 swing-wing attack aircraft. In 1961 all divisions were separated, products receiving label General Dynamics; in 1969 Convair San Diego and Fort Worth were reunited into Convair Aerospace, but separated again in 1974. Astronautics became Space Systems, part of missile work was assigned, to new Valley Systems Division, and in March 1985 Cessna was purchased, resold to Textron 1992. A-12 Avenger II (joint programme with McDonnell Douglas) cancelled 1991, but GD shares in one of 5 possible A-X replacements. Largest programme is Fort Worth Division’s F-16, plus share in F-22A whose prime contractor, Lockheed, purchased entire Fort Worth division 1 March 1993 for $1,500 m.

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