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Northrop Grumman's Battlefield Airborne Communications Node Enables Unprecedented Real-Time Distribution of F-22 Data to Legacy Aircraft

BACN Leverages Raptor's Sensor Capabilities as a Force Multiplier

SAN DIEGO, May 13, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully accomplished the first-ever real-time download and distribution of sensor information from an F-22 Raptor fighter to F-15 and F-16 aircraft via an airborne network and an F-22-unique datalink. Northrop Grumman demonstrated this in-flight data transfer capability with its Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) during the U.S. Air Force's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2008 (JEFX-08).

Downloading and distributing situational awareness data from the stealthy F-22's forward deployed positions leverages the Raptor's sensor capabilities as a force multiplier and as a future enabler for enhanced effects-based planning. BACN played a critical role in substantiating the operational utility and technical performance of Internet protocol-based airborne networking.

"BACN offers forward tactical operations with robust communications and critical applications to enhance mission operational effectiveness," said Roger Fujii, vice president and general manager of the Network Communications Division for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate BACN's network-centric capabilities that enhance battlespace communications and intelligence sharing. Our success at JEFX-08 validates that this advantage can be quickly fielded to our warfighters."

The company accomplished the historic data download and distribution over an airborne network using a combination of BACN, an F-22-unique datalink and Link-16, the U.S. military's primary datalink system. BACN's Intra-Flight Data Link subsystem (BIS) provided the Air Force and joint forces legacy fighters with F-22 interoperability for the first time ever. BIS received and translated selected F-22 sensor data into the standard tactical data link format and distributed the data to F-15s, F-16s and ground-based operations centers at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and Langley Air Force Base, Va. BIS did not require modifications to either hardware or software in the F-22 aircraft, and did not compromise any of the characteristics of the F-22.

During the F-22's tactical engagement in JEFX-08, BACN's voice bridging subsystem accomplished another first by creating a bridge between the F-22 pilots on tactical radios and the air operations center on Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone.

BACN is a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server that allows real-time information exchanges among many different, distant military and commercial communications systems. BACN's gateway executive processor is integrated with Northrop Grumman-developed software that provides "translation services" between incompatible radios. This translation enables real-time information exchanges among many military and commercial communications systems. The system is designed for use in a variety of unmanned and manned aircraft, and is currently installed on a Global Express business jet and NASA's WB-57 high-altitude aircraft.

The Air Force's JEFX exercise is a series of experiments evaluating new and emerging technologies in a realistic, joint and coalition environment. JEFX-08 included all military services, coalition nations, combatant commands and a variety of U.S. government agencies.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Sudi Bruni
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (858) 592-3407
          sudi.bruni@ngc.com