Northrop Corporation

Summary

Northrop Corporation
IndustryAerospace
FateMerged with Grumman Corporation
SuccessorNorthrop Grumman
Founded1939; 81 years ago (1939)
FoundersJack Northrop
Defunct1994; 26 years ago (1994)
Headquarters,
United States of America
Key people
ProductsAircraft

Northrop Corporation was an American aircraft manufacturer from its formation in 1939 until its 1994 merger with Grumman to form Northrop Grumman. The company is known for its development of the flying wing design, most successfully the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.[1]

Northrop Corporation F-5E Tiger II of the Swiss Air Force arrives at the 2016 RIAT, England

History

Jack Northrop founded 3 companies using his name. The first was the Avion Corporation in 1928, which was absorbed in 1929 by the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation[2] as a subsidiary named "Northrop Aviation Corporation" (and later acquired by Boeing). The parent company moved its operations to Kansas in 1931, and so Jack, along with Donald Douglas, established a "Northrop Corporation" located in El Segundo, California, which produced several successful designs, including the Northrop Gamma and Northrop Delta. However, labor difficulties led to the dissolution of the corporation by Douglas in 1937, and the plant became the El Segundo Division of Douglas Aircraft.[3]

Northrop still sought his own company, and so in 1939 he established the "Northrop Corporation" in nearby Hawthorne, California, a site located by co-founder Moye Stephens. The corporation ranked 100th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[4] It was there that the P-61 Black Widow night fighter, the B-35 and YB-49 experimental flying wing bombers, the F-89 Scorpion interceptor, the SM-62 Snark intercontinental cruise missile, and the F-5 Freedom Fighter economical jet fighter (and its derivative, the successful T-38 Talon trainer) were developed and built.[5]

The F-5 was so successful that Northrop spent much of the 1970s and 1980s attempting to duplicate its success with similar lightweight designs. Their first attempt to improve the F-5 was the N-300, which featured much more powerful engines and moved the wing to a higher position to allow for increased ordnance that the higher power allowed. The N-300 was further developed into the P-530 with even larger engines, this time featuring a small amount of "bypass" (turbofan) to improve cooling and allow the engine bay to be lighter, as well as much more wing surface. The P-530 also included radar and other systems considered necessary on modern aircraft. When the Light Weight Fighter program was announced, the P-530 was stripped of much of its equipment to become the P-600, and eventually the YF-17 Cobra, which lost the competition to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Nevertheless, the YF-17 Cobra was modified with help from McDonnell Douglas to become the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in order to fill a similar lightweight design competition for the US Navy. Northrop intended to sell a de-navalized version as the F-18L, but the basic F-18A continued to outsell it, leading to a long and fruitless lawsuit between the two companies. Northrop continued to build much of the F-18 fuselage and other systems after this period, but also returned to the original F-5 design with yet another new engine to produce the F-20 Tigershark as a low-cost aircraft. This garnered little interest in the market, and the project was dropped.

In 1985, Northrop bought northrop.com, the sixth .com domain created.[6]

Based on the experimentation with flying wings the company developed the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber of the 1990s.[7][8]

In 1994, partly due to the loss of the Advanced Tactical Fighter contract to Lockheed Martin and the removal of their proposal from consideration for the Joint Strike Fighter competition, the company bought Grumman to form Northrop Grumman.

Aircraft

Model name First flight Number built Type
Northrop Alpha 1930 17 Single piston engine transport
Northrop Beta 1931 2 Single piston engine sport airplane
Northrop Delta 1933 32 Single piston engine transport
Northrop XFT 1933 1 Prototype single piston engine fighter
Northrop BT 1935 55 Single piston engine dive bomber
Northrop N-1M 1940 1 Experimental twin piston engine flying wing
Northrop N-3PB 1940 24 Single piston engine floatplane patrol bomber
Northrop P-61 Black Widow 1942 706 Twin piston engine night fighter
Northrop N-9M 1942 4 Experimental twin piston engine flying wing
Northrop XP-56 Black Bullet 1943 2 Prototype single piston engine fighter
Northrop F-15 Reporter 1945 36 Twin piston engine reconnaissance airplane
Northrop XP-79 1945 1 Prototype twin jet engine flying wing fighter
Northrop YB-35 1946 2 Prototype four piston engine strategic bomber
Northrop YB-49 1947 6 Prototype eight jet engine strategic bomber
Northrop F-89 Scorpion 1948 1,052 Twin jet engine interceptor fighter
Northrop X-4 Bantam 1948 2 Experimental twin jet engine aircraft
Northrop YC-125 Raider 1949 23 Three piston engine transport
Northrop T-38 Talon 1959 1,146 Twin jet engine advanced trainer
Northrop F-5 1959 2,246 Twin jet engine light fighter
Northrop X-21 1963 2 Experimental twin jet engine aircraft
Northrop M2-F2 1966 1 Experimental single rocket engine lifting body aircraft
Northrop HL-10 1966 1 Experimental single rocket engine lifting body aircraft
Northrop M2-F3 1970 1 Experimental single rocket engine lifting body aircraft
Northrop YA-9 1972 2 Prototype twin jet engine attack airplane
Northrop YF-17 1974 2 Prototype twin jet engine fighter
Northrop Tacit Blue 1982 1 Experimental twin jet engine aircraft
Northrop F-20 Tigershark 1982 3 Prototype single jet engine fighter
Northrop B-2 Spirit 1989 21 Twin jet engine strategic bomber
Northrop YF-23 1990 2 Prototype twin jet engine fighter
Northrop YA-13 1 Prototype single piston engine attack airplane
Northrop A-17 411 Single piston engine attack airplane
Northrop Gamma 60 Single piston engine transport
Northrop C-19 Alpha 3 Single piston engine transport

Projects

  • Northrop N-1 (USAAC flying wing bomber)
  • Northrop N-4 (USAAF pursuit)
  • Northrop N-5 (USAAF pursuit)
  • Northrop N-6 (Navy fighter design)
  • Northrop N-15 (2-engine cargo plane)
  • Northrop N-31 (flying wing bomber project)
  • Northrop N-34 (nuclear-powered flying wing bomber design)
  • Northrop N-55 (patrol aircraft)
  • Northrop N-59 (carrier-based bomber)
  • Northrop N-60 (ASW aircraft; lost to Grumman S-2 Tracker)[9]
  • Northrop N-63 (rival tailsitting VTOL design to XFV-1 and XFY-1)[10]
  • Northrop N-65 (interceptor for WS-201 program)
  • Northrop N-74 (tactical transport)
  • Northrop N-94 (Navy fighter competitor design to Vought F8U Crusader)
  • Northrop N-102 Fang
  • Northrop N-103 (all-weather interceptor)
  • Northrop N-132 (strategic fighter)
  • Northrop N-144 (long-range interceptor)
  • Northrop N-155 (target-towing aircraft)
  • Northrop N-285 (USN advanced jet trainer design; lost to T-45 Goshawk)
  • Northrop N-321/P610 (LWF design)

Unmanned aerial vehicles

Missiles

See also

References

  1. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 93-106, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  2. ^ "John Knudsen Northrup". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. 1998. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  3. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 25, 93, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  4. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  5. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 93-106, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  6. ^ "100 oldest .com domains". iWhois.com. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved 2012-03-10.
  7. ^ Ioanes, Ellen. "The legendary B-2 stealth bomber made its first flight 30 years ago today — here's why it's still one of the world's most feared warplanes". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  8. ^ "B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, United States of America". Airforce Technology. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
  9. ^ Buttler, Tony (2010). American Secret Projects: Bombers, Attack and Anti-Submarine Aircraft 1945 to 1974. Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85780-331-0.
  10. ^ Zichek, J., 2015. Northrop N-63 Convoy Fighter: The Naval VTOL Turboprop Tailsitter Project of 1950. Retromechanix Productions.