Rockwell international was a diversified American defense contractor founded by Willard F. Rockwell in 1919. It entered the aircraft business with the acquisitions of the Aero Commander company in 1965 and of North American Aviation (from General Motors) in 1967. In the 1970s and 1980s, Rockwell was heavily involved in the U.S. defense and space programs, becoming the largest defense contractor and one of America’s largest companies. Its business declined in the 1980s and 1990s, and in 1996 it sold its aerospace business to Boeing.
Rockwell’s most important aircraft project was the B-1 bomber. It also produced the Space Shuttle orbiters for NASA.
In its heyday in the 1970s, Rockwell’s headquarters were in what is now the U.S. Steel Tower at 600 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Rockwell was proud of the heritage it acquired with Aero Commander and North American Aviation and supplied two refurbished North American P-51 and a Shrike Commander aircraft to test pilot Robert A. Hoover, who performed aerobatic routines in them at airshows to promote the company.
The aircraft in the galleries below are types developed by Rockwell before and after it acquired North American. For types developed at North American that continued to be produced by Rockwell, see the North American Aviation page.