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U.S. Army MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Completes First Engine Run

SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2007 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully performed an engine run of the first U.S. Army MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Class IV Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS), at the company's Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss.

"The engine run is a significant milestone for the FCS program. It marks completion of final assembly of the initial manufacturing phase of the first Army Fire Scout," said Joe Emerson, Northrop Grumman's FCS Fire Scout program manager. "We've been diligent in tracking our costs and meeting milestones such as this, which validates our commitment to quality, technical excellence, cost and delivery. We're definitely looking forward to fielding this aircraft."

The FCS Fire Scout has now completed the initial assembly process and will await delivery of mission avionics and sensors.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout has been flying under a Navy contract since December 2006, but this marked the first time aircraft operations were conducted at the Moss Point site. The engine run team consisted of Northrop Grumman employees and experienced flight test personnel from Moss Point, Miss., San Diego and Lexington Park, Md.

Engine runs will continue on subsequent Fire Scouts at the Moss Point site as they progress through the assembly process. Additional basic flight checks are also planned. The proposed flight tests will be under Federal Aviation Administration jurisdiction and will operate under strict flight rules for unmanned aerial systems.

In August 2003, the Fire Scout was selected as the Class IV UAS for the Army's Future Combat Systems. The Fire Scout will be a key element of the Army's tactical intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting architecture, providing real-time imagery, data collection and dissemination at the brigade level. Northrop Grumman is under a 10-year contract from The Boeing Company and Science Applications International Corporation, the Army's FCS lead systems integrators to develop the system architecture, produce MQ-8B Fire Scout air vehicles, perform system tests and evaluations, and help develop long-lead future requirements.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Rene' Freeland
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-7606
          rene.freeland@ngc.com