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TRW Incorporated was an American corporation involved in a number of businesses, mostly defense-related, but including automotive, aerospace and credit reporting.

The credit reporting business, spun off in 1996, is now called Experian. Lucas Diesel Systems was acquired by Delphi Automotive in 2000 and is now called Delphi Diesel Systems.

On December 12, 2002, Northrop Grumman acquired the corporation. The defense business was retained by Northrop Grumman. An 80.1% stake (later increased to more than 90%) in TRW Automotive Holdings, including the former LucasVarity Automotive, was spun off to The Blackstone Group, with John C. Plant retaining his position as President and the new company being renamed TRW Automotive Inc. TRW Aeronautical Systems, formerly Lucas Aerospace, was purchased by the American Goodrich Corporation.


The origin of the company was in the Cleveland Cap Screw Company, founded in 1901 by Charles E. Thompson, which eventually became Thompson Products. The 1958 merger of Thompson with the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation (named after Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge) was named Thompson Ramo Wooldridge Inc., then shortened to TRW Inc. in 1965. In 1977 ESL Inc. was merged into TRW, expanding the firm's high technology data communications capability.

TRW Inc. was active in the early development of missile systems and spacecraft, most notably the NASAmarker deep space satellites Pioneer 10 and 11 which sent information back to Earth for 30 years and continue to travel to the stars. TRW Inc. also pioneered systems engineering.

TRW was one of the first companies to build automobile safety air bags in the 1980s, but problems with the bags forced a recall by Ford Motor in 1990 and 1991. It also ran into asbestos problems, having used the material in the 1970s as brake liners.

The 1999 acquisition of the British aerospace and automotive parts maker LucasVarity doubled the size of TRW's automotive business, but saddled it with so much debt that it had to start selling businesses. The board brought in David Cote as CEO in 2001 to try to turn the business around, but he left in less than a year. In February 2002 Northrop Grumman launched a $5.9 billion hostile bid for TRW. A bidding war between Northrop Grumman, BAE Systemsmarker and General Dynamics ended on July 1 2002 when Northrop's increased bid of $7.8bn (£5.1bn) was accepted.

The research, test, and development division was renamed TRW Conekt in 2001.

Controversies and litigation

From 1974 to 1977, TRW employee Christopher John Boyce sold spy satellite secrets to the Soviet Unionmarker via the Soviet embassy in Mexico Citymarker. The story of Boyce and his accomplice, Andrew Daulton Lee, was told in the best-selling Robert Lindsey book The Falcon and the Snowman and served as basis for the 1985 film of the same title, though in the film the company was called "RTX". The book and film include stories of the lax security in place at TRW's Black Vault. Some of these included the repeated consumption of liquor and drugs while inside the vault as well as lack of proper attention to classified material handling, storage and destruction procedures.

Workers at TRW's plant in Mount Vernon, Ohiomarker, allege that unsafe use of metalworking fluids has led to over 100 instances of severe respiratory disease since 2001.

Former headquarters

TRW's former offices in Lyndhurst, Ohiomarker (previously the Dudley S. Blossom estate) are now the site of Cleveland Clinicmarker offices. The former TRW Building is used as the Human Resources Department and Corporate Learning Center. A portion of the site was developed into the Legacy Villagemarker lifestyle center.

See also


  1. Northrop Grumman TRW Heritage webpage

External links

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