SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD) today is celebrating 100 years of continuing excellence as a leading American corporation. The original company was founded by William O'Neil as General Tire & Rubber Company on Sept. 29, 1915 and has evolved greatly over the years through a diversified mix of acquisitions to become a leader in the aerospace and defense industry.
"We're proud of our strong roots as one of America's older companies and that our products have played such a central role in our country's historical footprint over the last 100 years," said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. "Looking back over the eras, we've been involved in many significant milestones this amazing country has witnessed. We certainly have a diverse family tree, but that innovative entrepreneurism and emphasis on technology has allowed our company to adapt and survive over ten decades to become laser focused on our core strengths today in aerospace and defense."
Over the last century, General Tire & Rubber Company interests included ownership of everything from radio and television stations, to movie studios and hotels, a soft drink bottling franchise, a tennis ball manufacturer, and even, at one time, an airline company.
In 1945, General Tire & Rubber Company entered the aerospace and defense industry with the purchase of Aerojet Engineering Corporation, a move that gave birth to today's Aerojet Rocketdyne.
With the Aerojet acquisition, the company was at the forefront of national defense. In World War II, the company's jet-assisted take off (JATO) units allowed military planes to launch from short runways and aircraft carriers. During the Cold War, Aerojet solid rocket motors powered the dependable anti-aircraft HAWK missile that is still being deployed more than 60 years later.
The company's contributions to America's space program have been equally significant. The company was at the heart of America's Space Age, helping Apollo 11 transport the first astronauts to the moon's surface and safely back home in 1969, and taking part in every space shuttle mission flown, among many other milestones.
In 1984, General Tire & Rubber Company evolved into GenCorp as the entity was established as a parent holding company. Eventually, the company exited the tire business entirely by divesting General Tire in 1987.
In June 2013, GenCorp acquired Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne from United Technologies Corporation to form Aerojet Rocketdyne, and in April 2015 officially changed GenCorp's corporate name to Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.
Drake says that Aerojet Rocketdyne has planned activities over the next several weeks to honor the centennial milestone with employees, customers and stakeholders, including production of a historical video and in-depth picture book outlining the company's 100-year heritage.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is an innovative company delivering solutions that create value for its customers in the aerospace and defense markets. The company is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to the space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical systems and armaments areas, in support of domestic and international markets. Additional information about Aerojet Rocketdyne can be obtained by visiting our websites at www.Rocket.com and www.AerojetRocketdyne.com.