History of GD

General Dynamics was incorporated in Delaware in 1952. From that time period to the 1990s, the company provided tanks, rockets, missiles, submarines, warships, fighters and electronics to all of the military services.

In the early 1990s, we sold nearly all of our divisions except for Electric Boat and Land Systems. Starting in the mid-1990s, we began expanding again by acquiring combat vehicle-related businesses, information technology product and service companies, additional shipyards and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

We continued to grow organically and acquired companies throughout the portfolio.

Today, we are focused on continuing the growth of General Dynamics by delivering on our promises to our customers and through a relentless focus on operations and continuous improvement, expanding margins, increasing earnings and return on invested capital and disciplined capital deployment.

Major acquisitions and divestitures that have shaped the company

General Dynamics was formed in 1952 through the combination of the Electric Boat Company, Canadair and several others.


The company purchased Convair.


The company merged with Material Service Corporation.


General Dynamics sold Canadair back to the Canadian government.


General Dynamics purchased Chrysler's defense divisions.


The company acquired Cessna.


With the downturn of the defense industry, the company divested many of its divisions.

In 1992, Cessna was sold to Textron and the San Diego and Pomona missile production units to General Motors-Hughes Aerospace. In 1993, the Fort Worth aircraft production was sold to Lockheed. In 1994, the Space Systems division was sold to Martin Marietta and the remaining Convair Aircraft Structure unit was sold to McDonnell Douglas.


General Dynamics purchased Bath Iron Works.


General Dynamics started buying technology-oriented companies.

The company bought Defense Systems from Lockheed Martin, Advanced Technology Systems from Lucent Technologies and Computing Devices International from Ceridian. In 1999, it acquired GTE Government Systems, firmly establishing the footprint of the current Information Systems and Technology group.


General Dynamics bought NASSCO.


The company acquired Gulfstream Aerospace.


Continuing through the 2000s we continued to grow organically and acquired vehicle, ship-repair, aerospace, C4ISR and IT companies.


In 2001, we acquired Motorola Integrated Systems. In 2003, General Dynamics purchased Veridian and Digital Systems Resources (DSR). And in 2006, we purchased Anteon Corporation.


General Dynamics purchases Primex Technologies.


The company purchased the defense divisions of General Motors.


General Dynamics purchased Jet Aviation.


The company acquired Vangent.


General Dynamics acquired Metro Machine Imperial Docks in 2011 and Earl Industries’ Ship Repair Division in 2012, growing our shipbuilding repair and maintenance operations on both coasts of the United States.


Phebe N. Novakovic became chairman and chief executive officer.


General Dynamics receives significant customer contracts, including:

  • the largest dollar-value shipbuilding contract in U.S. Navy history, with a $17.6 billion award for the construction of 10 additional Virginia-class submarines.
  • an award from the Government of Canada’s Canadian Commercial Corporation valued at $10 billion to provide military and commercial vehicles, training, and support services to a Middle Eastern customer.
  • An award for £3.5 billion to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army.



Gulfstream announced three new large-cabin business-jets: the G500, the G600 and the G650 extended-range (ER).


Gulfstream received the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the National Aeronautic Association’s highest award, for the G650.


Combat Systems backlog reaches historic high, more than tripling from year-end 2013, including the following contract awards:

  • A £390 million in-service support contract for the UK’s AJAX family of fighting vehicles.
  • A $600 million contract with Denmark for 309 PIRANHA 5 vehicles.

Electric Boat ramped-up construction of two-submarines per year on the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class submarine program.


Mission Systems-built Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 systems approved for full-rate production.


Gulfstream delivered the 200th aircraft in the G650 family and the 100th G280.


Jet Aviation expanded its West Coast presence with the Avjet acquisition and the opening of its eighth U.S. FBO at Van Nuys Airport.


European Land Systems received a $600 million contract to deliver more than 300 Piranha vehicles to Denmark.


Mission Systems acquired UUV manufacturer Bluefin Robotics.


GDIT received a $430 million contract from the U.S. Census Bureau to provide contact-center systems and operations support.


Electric Boat delivered the USS Illinois, the 13th Virginia-class submarine, under cost and ahead of schedule.


Bath Iron Works delivered DDG 1000 and completed sea trials for the first ship in the DDG-51 restart program.


Electric Boat named prime contractor for the Ohio-class replacement program and cut steel for the first hull in August.


NASSCO delivered six commercial ships and signed a two-ship contract with Matson, Inc.