Philco-Ford?


#1

Philco-Ford were involved in various military gun projects from sometime in the 1960s to well into the 1970s, e.g. they produced unsuccessful contenders for the 25mm GAU-7 and 30mm GAU-8 programmes. I am trying to find out what happened to their gun business - did it just close down, or did they sell it to another company - and if so which company, and when?

Just for your amusement, this is the result so far of my efforts to track the history of the two surviving US companies involved in the automatic cannon business:

Hughes Tool Company was involved in a variety of projects, including some radical designs such as the Lockless family. Their gun department was acquired by McDonnell Douglas in 1984, which merged with Boeing in 1997; Boeing’s ordnance business was sold to Alliant Techsystems (ATK – formerly Honeywell’s defence branch) in 2002; ATK became Orbital ATK in 2015, with the range of Bushmaster Chain Guns being the responsibility of Orbital ATK Armament Systems.

General Electric was responsible for the development of the Gatling-type multibarrel rotary cannon commencing with Project Vulcan. In 1993 it sold GE Armament Systems to Martin Marietta. After Martin’s merger with Lockheed in 1995, the cannon became the responsibility of Lockheed Martin Armament Systems, which was acquired by General Dynamics in 1997. The department responsible for the rotary guns was initially General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products; this was absorbed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) in 2013.


#2

Tony,

Looking at the Wikipedia page concerning Ford Aerospace provides the following:

A partial company timeline includes:

1956 Aeronutronic becomes a Ford Motor Company division.

1961 Ford Motor Company acquires Philco Corporation, later named Philco-Ford Corporation.

1963 Ford Motor Company folds Aeronutronic into Philco, strengthening Ford Motor Company’s overall participation in space and defense markets.

1975 Philco-Ford becomes Aeronutronic Ford Corporation

1976 Aeronutronic Ford Corporation becomes Ford Aerospace & Communications Corporation.

1981 FACC starts new sister division to Aeroneutronics in Southern California named DIVAD (Division Air Defense) for the production of the M247 Sgt. York armor tracked vehicle (named in honor of legendary World War I sharpshooter and medal of honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York) which incorporated F-15 search-and-track radar directed twin 40 mm Bofors gun systems in Newport Beach and Lake Forest, CA. Divad division dissolved in 1984 when Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger canceled the production contract and all existing Sgt.York units were dismantled for scrap. (D.V. Barker)

1988 Ford Aerospace San Jose CA location working on Nato Airbase Satcom (NABS) control facilities

1990 Ford Aerospace sold to Loral Corporation.


Front page of a 1973 SAWS manual, company name = Philco-Ford Corporation, Aeronutronic Division

Brian


#3

Loral wiki has some interesting info


#4

Thank you gentlemen. So I deduce from this that since Loral sold most of its business to Lockheed Martin in 1996, they would have inherited any remaining gun-related activities - although I am not aware of any new developments being announced after the cancellation of Sgt York in 1984.