Officially born in 1994, after the acquisition of Grumman Aerospace by Northrop Aircraft, the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NG) has become a global leader in the A&D sector. In 2021, NG registered a sales revenue of approximately 35.7 billion U.S. dollars, a slight y-o-y decrease of around three percent but still above the 35 billion milestone for the second time in a row. Even if total sales suffered a minor setback in 2021, NG’s operating profit continued its upward trend reaching more than 5.6 billion U.S. dollars.
NG and the space dreamWhen it comes to the different business divisions in NG, military-related businesses are the strongest ones. In 2021, revenues of the defense and mission systems division accounted for 42 percent of total sales. But in recent years, space systems have gained a strong presence, with crucial projects for the global space industry.
Space-related projects are not a strange issue for NG, being one of its predecessors, Grumman Aerospace, the company in charge of the design and manufacturing of the Lunar Module used on the Apollo 11 mission. On more current projects, NG led the team who built NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST was launched in December 2021, and it is the largest optical telescope in space, bringing to Earth images of space with the highest resolution so far.
NG is also helping to boost the space race into its following stages. On November 2022, NASA launched the Space Launch System (SLS) flight as part of the Artemis program, which will bring humans back to the moon this decade. NG’s solid rocket boosters helped successfully propel the SLS and the Orion spacecraft into space, and the company will supply support for SLS and the Artemis missions through 2031.
“No competition, no progress.”Among the several companies in this field, NG has positioned itself on the leading board among giants like Lockheed Martin, Airbus, and Boeing. In 2021, NG ranked third among the most profitable A&D companies, behind Lockheed Martin and Airbus. Even if Boeing is one of the strongest players in this field, with revenues of more than 60 billion U.S. dollars, it has struggled to profit from its operations. Boeing reported operating losses for the third consecutive time in 2021, mainly caused by the 737 MAX groundings, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stoppage in 787 Dreamliner jet deliveries.
Precisely, N.G. also positions itself as an elite arms manufacturer and military services provider. In 2020, NG made it to the top five arms-producing companies worldwide with an arms sale revenue of 30.4 billion U.S. dollars, defeating defense systems experts like General Dynamics and BAE Systems.