AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING CORPORATION
The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, later Grumman Aerospace Corporation, was a leading 20th century U.S. producer of military and civilian aircraft. Founded on December 6, 1929, by Leroy Grumman and partners, it merged in 1994 with Northrop Corporation to form Northrop Grumman.
Leroy Grumman and others worked for the Loening Aircraft Engineering Corporation in the 1920s, but when it was bought by Keystone Aircraft Corporation and the operations moved from New York City to Bristol, Pennsylvania, Grumman and his partners (Edmund Ward Poor, William Schwendler, Jake Swirbul, and Clint Towl) started their own company in an old Cox-Klemin Aircraft Co. factory in Baldwin on Long Island, New York. All of the early Grumman employees were former Loening employees. The company was named after Grumman because he was its largest investor. The company filed as a business on December 5, 1929, and opened its doors on January 2, 1930. Keeping busy by welding aluminum tubing for truck frames, the company eagerly pursued contracts with the US Navy. Grumman designed the first practical floats with a retractable landing gear for the Navy, and this launched Grumman into the aviation market. The first Grumman aircraft was also for the Navy, the Grumman FF-1, a biplane with retractable landing gear. This was followed by a number of other successful designs. Grumman Corporation During World War II, Grumman became known for its "Cats", Navy fighter aircraft, F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat, and the less well known Grumman F7F Tigercat and Grumman F8F Bearcat (neither of which saw combat during World War II), and for its torpedo bomber TBF Avenger. Grumman ranked 22nd among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts. Grumman's first jet aircraft was the F9F Panther; it was followed by the upgraded F9F/F-9 Cougar, and the less well known F-11 Tiger in the 1950s. The company's big postwar successes came in the 1960s with the A-6 Intruder and E-2 Hawkeye and in the 1970s with the Grumman EA-6B Prowler and F-14 Tomcat. Grumman products were prominent in the film Top Gun and numerous World War II naval and Marine Corps aviation films. The U.S. Navy still employs the Hawkeye as part of Carrier Air Wings on board aircraft carriers, and the U.S. Marine Corps still operates the Prowler as of 2016.