The Hughes Aircraft Company was not a major player in the production of warplanes during World War II. Hughes developed the HK-1/H-4 Hercules aka Spruce Goose starting in 1942, but the plane did not fly until two years after the end of the war. No other Hughes designs progressed to production during the war and his plant facilities were used to build subassemblies for other manufacturers.

Hughes other inhouse wartime (he is reported to have been involved in the design of the Lockheed Constellation, though perhaps only as the customer), the D-2 fighter-bomber prototype used similar wood-based technology to the Hercules. The design led to a contract for a postwar high-speed long-range reconnaissance plane, the XF-11, of aluminum construction, which was not successful.