History

July 1955
General Dynamics creates the General Atomic (GA) Division of General Dynamics for research and development in the peaceful uses of atomic energy

June 1956
Summer symposium begins with GA's initial scientific staff and visiting summer consultants to define GA's first projects. These include the inherently safe TRIGA® research reactor, the High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor, and controlled fusion research.

May 1957
GA and the Texas Atomic Energy Research Foundation begin a four-year, $10,000,000 research program in controlled fusion.

July 1958
The Advanced Research Projects Agency announces start of Project Orion at GA, a new space propulsion concept using controlled nuclear explosions to drive a large space vehicle into deep space.

September 1958
A TRIGA research reactor, sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission, operates at the Geneva Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Switzerland.

November 1958
Philadelphia Electric Co. and more than 40 other utility companies propose building a 40-MWe prototype High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) at Peach Bottom, PA.

November 1961
GA introduces the Magneform® metalworking machine, a byproduct of controlled fusion research.

January 1962
Peach Bottom HTGR research and development program includes graphite fuel element development, nuclear physics design, component fabrication and testing, and post-irradiation examinations.

May 1962
Research on reverse osmosis for saline water conversion begins in a project sponsored by the Department of the Interior's Office of Saline Water.

February 1971
GA introduces Pyrolite® medical carbon for artificial heart valves, a byproduct of fuel development for the high temperature gas-cooled reactor.

May 1974
AEC selects GA to build the Doublet III magnetic fusion experiment in San Diego, based on the success of earlier Doublet I and II magnetic confinement experiments.

February 1978
Doublet III fusion machine achieves its first plasma conditions at GA. The machine was later upgraded and renamed DIII-D.

March 1982
GA's chemical agent munitions demilitarization development project begins for the U.S. Army, using the cryofracture process.

August 1988
GA's modular high temperature gas-cooled reactor is selected for the Department of Energy's New Production Reactor program.

April 1989
Applied SuperConetics celebrates production of the 100th commercial superconducting magnet for medical resonance imaging. The group was later acquired by Toshiba America Medical Systems.

August 1994
The first Predator® unmanned aerial vehicle is flown at GA's flight test facility at El Mirage, CA. GA rolls out the prototype within six months of receiving Pentagon contract to demonstrate an advanced concept unmanned aerial vehicle.

August 1999
The Lynx® synthetic aperture radar is unveiled by GA and Sandia National Laboratories for use on both manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.

January 2000
Diazyme Laboratories becomes a biotechnology division of GA. Diazyme will apply proprietary enzyme technology to develop rapid detection methods for small molecules in biological samples for clinical diagnostic and pharmaceutical uses.

April 2004
GA Aeronautical Systems flies first pre-production version of the Predator B, soon to be known as the Reaper®. Predator B will conduct quick trainsit, long endurance missions in support of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and weapons delivery missions.

January 2004
Navy chooses GA for system development and demonstration of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), scheduled for use on its next-generation aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford. The project benefits from skills developed under GA's fusion research program -- both programs require precise control of the discharge of large amounts of pulsed power.

August 2005
GA and its Team Warrior partners awarded contracts for the system development and demonstration phase of the Army's Extended Range Multi-Purpose UAV program.

June 2008
A Terex MT6300 mine-haul truck is operated with a GA Power Inverters' drive system at a syncrude mine in the tar sands of Alberta. The 400-ton payload machine is one of the highest payload class trucks in the world.

February 2009
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announces delivery of its sixth Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System. The aircraft will operate from Sierra Vista, AZ.

April 2009
GA Aeronautical Systems' next-generation Predator C Avenger® makes its first flight. The aircraft has higher operational and transit speeds and provides expanded quick-response and armed reconnaissance capability.

September 2009
First demonstration of the GA designed and manufactured Blitzer™ electromagnetic railgun.

December 2010
GA announces the Energy Multiplier Module (EM2™), a small version of the Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor. EM2 will utilize nuclear waste to produce energy.

March 2010
GA celebrates the first launch of an aircraft from the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) installed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.