Our History

A long history of continuous improvement

Incorporated in 1952, General Dynamics is proud of its history serving the aerospace and defense communities.

From 1952 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 our entire portfolio except for our military-vehicle and submarine businesses. Starting in the mid-1990s, we began expanding again by acquiring Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, combat-vehicle-related businesses, IT product and service companies and additional shipyards, forming the foundation of our company today.

We continue to expand our business through organic growth and acquisitions. We focus on delivering superior products and services to our customers, and creating value for our shareholders through a relentless focus on operational excellence and continuous improvement.

Major Events that Have Shaped the Company



  • Electric Boat begins full construction of first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine
  • General Dynamics Land Systems awarded $5.8 billion by the U.S. Army for M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks and Stryker IM-SHORAD vehicles
  • GDIT awarded $4.4 billion for the Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS) from the General Services Administration in partnership with the DoD
  • Gulfstream G600 receives European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certificate approval, enabling aircraft registrations and deliveries to begin for EU customers
  • Gulfstream G700 completes its first flight



  • G600 certified by the FAA, first customer deliveries
  • GDIT awarded $2 billion State Department global supply chain contract
  • G650ER breaks speed record for longest business jet flight in history
  • Electric Boat awarded $2 billion contract for Virginia-class advance material
  • G280 sets city pair record using sustainable fuel
  • U.S. Army orders 174 updated Abrams tanks from General Dynamics Land Systems



  • CSRA acquired for $9.7 billion, the largest acquisition in company history, and integrated with GDIT
  • FAA certifies new G500 aircraft, first customer deliveries
  • Acquired Hawker Pacific, adding 19 locations in Asia-Pacific and Middle East to the Aerospace global footprint.
  • Increased the range of the G600, to 5,500 nautical miles at Mach 0.9, a 700-nautical mile increase over original projections.
  • Received contracts totaling $4.8 billion for the construction of DDG-51s
  • Acquired Germany's FWW Fahrzeugwerk GmbH; established General Dynamics European Land Systems–Deutschland



  • Received a $5.1 billion contract to complete the design and prototype development for the Columbia-class submarine.
  • Delivered the first SEPv3 Abrams tank to the U.S. Army.
  • Delivered the first ship in the DDG-51 restart program.
  • Announced an increase in the range of the G500 and G600 to 4,400 and 5,100 nautical miles, respectively, at 0.9 Mach.
  • Expanded Jet Aviation’s service network with an FBO at Washington Dulles International Airport and new FBOs in Massachusetts and Dubai.



  • Electric Boat named prime contractor for the Columbia-class submarine program and cut steel for the first hull in August.
  • 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.
  • General Dynamics Mission Systems acquires UUV manufacturer Bluefin Robotics.



  • Gulfstream receives Robert J. Collier Trophy, the National Aeronautic Association’s highest award, for the G650.
  • Electric Boat ramps-up construction of two-submarines per year on the U.S. Navy’s Virginia-class submarine program.
  • NASSCO delivers six commercial ships and signs a two-ship contract with Matson, Inc.



  • Gulfstream announces three new large-cabin business-jets: the G500, the G600 and the G650 extended-range (ER).
  • Awarded $17.6 billion for construction of 10 additional Virginia-class submarines, the largest dollar-value shipbuilding contract in U.S. Navy history
  • Established General Dynamics European Land Systems-Czech



  • Phebe N. Novakovic becomes chairman and chief executive officer




  • Acquired Earl Industries’ Ship Repair Division, growing NASSCO's shipbuilding repair and maintenance operations on both coasts




  • Acquired Vangent, a leading provider of healthcare information technology and business systems to federal agencies
  • Acquired Metro Machine Imperial Docks in Norfolk, Virginia



  • Purchased Jet Aviation, a global business aviation service provider based in Switzerland



  • Purchased Anteon International Corp., integrating it with GDIT




  • Acquired Swiss vehicle manufacturer MOWAG, as part of General Dynamics European Land Systems




  • Purchased General Motors Defense, Veridian and Digital Systems Resources (DSR)
  • Purchased Austrian vehicle manufacturer Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug, and established General Dynamics European Land Systems




  • Purchased German company EWK Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern, renaming it General Dynamics European Land Systems-Germany



  • Purchased Spain's Santa Bárbara Sistemas, one of the world's oldest arms manufacturers, which started making cannons in 1540.
  • Acquired Motorola Integrated Systems and Primex Technologies.



  • Acquired Gulfstream Aerospace
  • Acquired GTE Government Systems




  • Acquired NASSCO



  • Acquired Advanced Technology Systems from Lucent Technologies
  • Acquired Computing Devices International from Ceridian
  • Acquired Armament Systems and Defense Systems from Lockheed Martin




  • Acquired Bath Iron Works


1990 - 1994

  • With the downturn in the defense industry, the company divested many of its divisions.  In 1991, the company sold its Data Systems Division. In 1992, Cessna and its electronics and missile businesses were sold. In 1993, the Fort Worth aircraft production business was sold. In 1994, the company sold the Space division and the remaining Convair Aircraft Structure unit.



  • Acquired Cessna Aircraft Company\.



  • Acquired Chrysler Defense; General Dynamics Land Systems formed



  • Canadair sold to the Canadian government



  • General Dynamics merges with Material Service Corporation



  • USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, is christened at Electric Boat


  • Acquired Convair



  • General Dynamics is formed as the parent of the Electric Boat Company, which had owned Canadair since 1947


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