Raytheon Company is a major American military contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007. Raytheon is the world's largest producer of guided missiles.
Established in 1922, the company reincorporated in 1928 and adopted its present name in 1959. The company has around 72,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of approximatelyUS$ 25 billion. More than 90% of Raytheon's revenues were obtained from military contracts and, as of 2007, it was the fifth-largest military contractor in the world, and is the fourth largest defense contractor in the United States by revenue.
Raytheon Headquarters was moved from Lexington, Massachusetts to Waltham, Massachusetts on October 27, 2003. The company was previously headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1922–1928, Newton, Massachusetts from 1928–1941, Waltham from 1941–1961, Lexington from 1961–2003, and back to Waltham from 2003 onwards.
In 1922, two former Tufts engineering college roommates Laurence K. Marshall and Vannevar Bush, along with scientist Charles G. Smith, founded the American Appliance Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its focus, which was originally on new refrigeration technology, soon shifted to electronics. The company's first product was a gaseous (helium) rectifier that was based on Charles Smith's earlier astronomical research of the star Zeta Puppis. The electron tube was christened with the name Raytheon ("light of/from the gods") and was used in a battery eliminator, a type of radio-receiver power supply that plugged into the power grid in place of large batteries. This made it possible to convert household alternating current to direct current for radios and thus eliminate the need for expensive, short-lived batteries.
In 1925, the company changed its name to Raytheon Manufacturing Company and began marketing its rectifier, under the Raytheon brand name, with great commercial success. In 1928 Raytheon merged with Q.R.S. Company, an American manufacturer of electron tubes and switches, to form the successor of the same previous name, Raytheon Manufacturing Company. In 1933 it diversified by acquiring Acme-Delta Company, a producer of transformers, power equipment, and electronic auto parts. By the 1930s, it had already grown to become one of the world's largest vacuum tube manufacturing companies.
Early in World War II, physicists in the United Kingdom invented the magnetron, a specialized microwave-generating electron tube that markedly improved the capability of radar to detect enemy planes. American companies were then sought by the U.S. government to perfect and mass-produce the magnetron for ground-based, airborne, and shipborne radar systems, and, with support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Radiation Laboratory (recently formed to investigate microwave radar), Raytheon received a contract to build the devices. Within a few months of being awarded the contract, Raytheon had already begun to mass manufacture magnetron tubes for use in radar sets and then complete radar systems. At war's end in 1945 the company was responsible for about 80 percent of all magnetrons manufactured. During the war Raytheon also pioneered the production of shipboard radar systems, particularly for submarine detection.
Raytheon's research on the magnetron tube revealed the potential of microwaves to cook food. In 1945, Raytheon's Percy Spencer invented the microwave oven by discovering that the magnetron could rapidly heat food. In 1947, the company demonstrated the Radarange microwave oven for commercial use.
After WWIIIn 1945, the company expanded its electronics capability through acquisitions that included the Submarine Signal Company (founded in 1901), a leading manufacturer of maritime safety equipment. With its broadened capabilities, Raytheon developed the firstguidance system for a missile that could intercept a flying target. In 1948, Raytheon began to manufacture guided missiles. In 1950, its Lark missile became the first such weapon to destroy a target aircraft in flight. Raytheon then received military contracts to develop the air-to-airSparrow and ground-to-air Hawk missiles — projects that received impetus from the Korean War. In later decades, it remained a major producer of missiles, among them the Patriot antimissile missile and the air-to-air Phoenix missile. In 1959, Raytheon acquired the marine electronics company Apelco Applied Electronics, which significantly increased its strength in commercial marine navigation and radio gear, as well as less-expensive Japanese suppliers of products such as marine/weather band radios anddirection-finding gear. In the same year, it changed its name to Raytheon Company.
During the post-war years, Raytheon also made radio and television transmitters and related equipment for the commercial market in the U.S. and got into the educational publishing business with the acquisition of D.C. Heath. In the 1950s, Raytheon began manufacturing transistors, including the CK722, priced and marketed to hobbyists.
In 1961, the British electronics company A.C. Cossor merged with Raytheon, following its sale by Philips. The new Company's name was Raytheon Cossor. The Cossor side of the organisation is still current in the Raytheon group as of 2009.
In 1965, it acquired Amana Refrigeration, Inc., a manufacturer of refrigerators and air conditioners. Using the Amana brand name and its distribution channels, Raytheon began selling the first countertop household microwave oven in 1967 and became a dominant manufacturer in the microwave oven business.
The 1980sIn 1980, Raytheon acquired Beech Aircraft Corporation, a leading manufacturer of general aviation aircraft founded in 1932 by Walter H. Beech. In 1993 the company expanded its aircraft activities by adding the Hawker line of business jets by acquiring Corporate Jets Inc., the business jet product line ofBritish Aerospace (now BAE Systems ). These two entities were merged in 1994 to become the Raytheon Aircraft Company. In the first quarter of 2007 Raytheon sold its aircraft operations, which is now operating asHawker Beechcraft. The product line of Raytheon's aircraft subsidiary included business jets such as the Hawker 800XP and Hawker 4000, the Beechjet 400A, and the Premier I; the popular King Air series of twin turboprops; and piston-engine aircraft such as the Bonanza. Its special-mission aircraft included the single-turboprop T-6A Texan II, which had been chosen to be the primary training aircraft for the United States Air Force and United States Navy.
The 1990sIn 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, Raytheon's Patriot missile received great international exposure, resulting in a substantial increase in sales for the company outside the United States. In an effort to establish leadership in the defense electronics business, Raytheon purchased in quick succession Dallas-based E-Systems (1995), Chrysler Corporation's defense electronics and aircraft-modification businesses (1996) (portions of these businesses were later sold to L-3 Communications), and the defense unit of Texas Instruments - Defense Systems & Electronics Group (1997). Also in 1997, Raytheon acquired the aerospace and defense business of Hughes Aircraft Company from Hughes Electronics Corporation — a subsidiary of General Motors, which included a number of product lines previously purchased by Hughes Electronics including the former General Dynamics missile business, the defense portion of Delco Electronics (Delco Systems Operations), and Magnavox Electronic Systems.
Raytheon also divested itself of several nondefense businesses in the 1990s, including Amana Refrigeration. On October 12, 1999 Raytheon exited the personal rapid transit (PRT) business as it terminated its PRT 2000 system due to high-cost of development and lack of interest. The PRT 2000 prototype now sits idle at their Marlboro, Massachusetts facility.
Raytheon-ELSI S.p.A. (ELSI), an Italian corporation wholly owned by the United States corporations Raytheon Company (Raytheon), which held 99.16 per cent of the shares, and its subsidiary The Machlett Laboratories (Machlett), which held the remaining 0.83 per cent, was established in Palermo, Italy, where it produced electronic components.