Hughes Electronics Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, was formed on December 31, 1985, when General Motors acquired Hughes Aircraft Company from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Hughes Electronics consists of Delco Electronics Corporation; Hughes Aircraft Company; Hughes Telecommunications and Space Company; Hughes Network Systems, Inc.; and DIRECTV, Inc.
The origins of the company reach back to 1932, when aviator-industrialist-movie producer Howard Hughes formed an aircraft division within the Hughes Tool Company. Hughes Aircraft contributed to World War II by manufacturing armaments and radio equipment. Its role increased after the war to include advanced radar systems and radar guided missiles. Hughes Aircraft researched and developed applications for modern missiles, including guidance by not only radar but also lasers, wires, optical fibers, video and infrared imaging sensors. In addition to aircraft and missiles, Hughes Aircraft played a significant role in satellite development with its pioneering research in the areas of high resolution imaging, infrared imaging, thermal detection, and in-flight programmable radar signal processing.