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A Brief History of Northrop

The Northrop Aircraft Incorporated was founded in 1939 by Jack Northrop. Jack was most famous for the XB-35 bomber prototype developed shortly after World War II. It was this design that would serve as the inspiration for the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Other notable Northrop products include the T-38 Talon trainer aircraft, which was first flown in 1961, and continues to serve with the United States Air Force.
Northrop's biggest success was arguably the F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tiger lightweight fighter plane. This aircraft was pitched as an economical fighter plane, and was widely exported to many US Allies in the 1960s. Northrop tried to duplicate the success of the F-5 with the F-20 prototype, but this attracted no buyers. It was later modified by another company to become the F/A-18 Hornet.
After the end of the Cold War Northrop knew it would have to expand or be acquired by another company. In 1994 it acquired Grumman, ensuring the survival of both companies in some form.