History and Growth
The history of today’s General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products began in 1948 when General Electric (GE) purchased the Bell Aircraft factory located in Burlington, Vermont. GE operated the Burlington-based Armament Systems department exclusively as a Department of Defense government contractor, making missile nose cone components in the 1950s and armament gun systems from the early 1950s through today. GE sold its entire aerospace business (14 locations and about 30,000 people, including Armament Systems) to Martin Marietta in 1993. Martin Marietta merged with Lockheed in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin. In 1997, General Dynamics acquired Armament Systems in Burlington from Lockheed Martin.
Saco Defense in Saco, Maine, was acquired in 2000, broadening the line of crew-served weapons and gun barrel manufacturing. Rocket assembly in Camden, Arkansas, came under Armament Systems in 2001, when General Dynamics acquired and realigned Primex.
In 2002, General Dynamics acquired Advanced Technical Products, an industry leader in high-tech composites, military shelters, filament-wound high pressure vessels and chemical and biological detectors. The new company was renamed General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products to acknowledge the joining of two capable and well-respected heritage businesses.
In 2009, General Dynamics acquired AxleTech International, a global manufacturer and supplier of axles, axle components, planetary axles, brakes and aftermarket parts for specialty trucks, military vehicles and off-highway machines. In 2011, General Dynamics sold its chemical, biological agent and explosives detection operation, Detection Systems, to Chemring Group PLC, a United Kingdom-headquartered company.
GDATP, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., has a broad portfolio that offers high-performance weapon and armament systems, survivability systems for combat vehicles, composite products for aircraft and ground systems, and heavy-duty off-road axle and suspension systems to the U.S. military, allied forces and select commercial customers. From its heritage in Gatling guns through its expansion into a sub-systems provider, GDATP continues to be poised for growth in the future.