Howard Hughes establishes Hughes Aircraft Co. missile manufacturing operations in Tucson to build the Falcon, the world's first air-to-air radar-guided missile.


U.S. Air Force purchases Hughes' Tucson operations and designates the site Air Force Plant 44. First Falcon is delivered to the Air Force on Sept. 29, 1952.


Employment level reaches 5,700 (peak Falcon production).


Falcon production completed; employment drops to lowest level of 1,300.


Engineering development center established in Canoga Park, Calif., and development of Maverick missile begins.


Production begins on the TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missile for the Army.


Hughes competes against Chrysler and wins TOW "winner-take-all" award to be sole producer of 100,000 TOW missiles.


Production begins on the Phoenix missile, a long-range missile defense system for the U.S. Navy and on the Maverick missile, an air-to-surface missile for the U.S. Air Force and Navy.

Missile Systems Group formed with headquarters and engineering in Canoga Park, Calif., and manufacturing operations in Tucson. Employment increases to 3,100.


Development begins on the Advanced, Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) for the U.S. Air Force and Navy.


General Motors purchases parent company Hughes Aircraft Company for $5 billion.


Employment reaches 9,000.


500,000th TOW delivered to the U.S. Army.


Employment drops to 5,500 as defense budget declines, production levels reduced.


Hughes Aircraft acquires General Dynamics missile business including Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systems, Rolling Airframe Missile, Standard Missile, Advanced Cruise Missile, Sparrow and Stinger missiles.

Hughes consolidates all missile engineering and manufacturing operations in Tucson. More than 2,500 families move to Tucson from California.


Additional facility space leased at former IBM site at Rita Road (later becomes UA Science & Tech Park). Also, Hughes wins U.S. Army award for the Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile, paving the way for missile defense systems capable of intercepting warheads in space.


Tucson employment reaches 8,000.


Raytheon Co. acquires defense business of Hughes Aircraft Co., including Tucson operations.

More missile programs move to Tucson from Raytheon sites in the Northeast and former Texas Instruments site in Texas, including Joint Standoff Weapon, Paveway guided munition, Javelin anti-tank weapon, and High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile.


In its first intercept test, an Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle scores a direct hit on a mock warhead in space.


Employment reaches 10,100; annual sales reach $2.8 billion.


Raytheon delivers 250,000th Paveway Laser Guided Bomb.


A reconfigured Raytheon Standard Missile-3 shoots down failed satellite. Also that year, Taylor W. Lawrence named president of Raytheon Missile Systems.


Phalanx sensors used in laser shoot down of airborne targets. Also that year, annual sales reach $5.7 billion; total employment is 12,500 in Tucson and at five offsite locations.


Raytheon Missile Systems acquires Ktech in New Mexico to enhance directed energy capabilities.

Raytheon Missile Systems breaks ground for new missile defense facility in Huntsville, Ala.

Raytheon Missile Systems celebrates 60 years in Tucson.

Source: Raytheon Missile Systems