WASHINGTON – Jon C. Jones, vice president of Raytheon Co. and president of Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, died March 6 of an apparent heart attack, the company said in a press release. He was 55.

A Raytheon employee since 1977, Jones took the helm of the El Segundo, Calif.-based Space and Airborne Systems division in November 2005. Before that he was vice president and deputy general manager of the division, a maker of space and airborne sensors, and also served in similar capacity at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz.

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of California at Northridge and a master’s in engineering management from the University of California at Los Angeles.

“Jon was a valued contributor to Raytheon for 33 years, an outstanding leader within our company, industry and community, and a dear friend,” Raytheon Chairman and Chief Executive William H. Swanson said in a statement. “He was a wonderful innovator who guided numerous programs of the utmost importance to our men and women in uniform. Everyone who knew and worked with Jon will miss him.

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...