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Northrop Grumman Delivers Next-Generation FBCB2 Software to U.S. Army

RESTON, Va., Nov. 30, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has delivered the next version of Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) software to the U.S. Army to begin formal government testing.

The new software, called Joint Capabilities Release (JCR), provides a common FBCB2 platform solution for both the Army and U.S. Marine Corps.

FBCB2 is the key situational awareness and command-and-control system used by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 85,000 FBCB2 systems have been deployed worldwide.

Northrop Grumman completed system segment acceptance testing and delivered JCR to the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, N.J., on September 25.

"The JCR enhancements and added interoperability expand FBCB2 to a robust system that is orders of magnitude more capable than what is available to soldiers and Marines today," said Joe G. Taylor, Jr., vice president of the Ground Combat Systems operating unit within Northrop Grumman's Information Systems sector. "The improvements in latency alone will make a tremendous difference on the battlefield."

The current version of Blue Force Tracker (BFT) takes minutes to refresh friendly force position locations. When JCR is fielded with the new BFT-2 transceiver and network upgrade, friendly positions will be updated in seconds.

Other new JCR features and functions include a commercial joint mapping tool kit; Type 1 encryption for relaying classified information; and an over-the-air "self descriptive situational awareness" (SDSA) capability.

SDSA will eliminate inflexible fixed databases -- one of the biggest complaints of the old system -- and allow FBCB2-equipped units to change task organizations in the field to meet new mission requirements. Future JCR releases will provide additional services including open office file transfers, image downloads, chat and instant messaging.

Northrop Grumman developed JCR using an approach based on a common set of core assets, making it more modular, reusable, interoperable and easier to upgrade. This Battle Command Product Line (BCPL) architecture is capable of supporting multiple products for a variety of users, including aviation, dismounted soldiers, logistics and fires.

FBCB2 links communication devices, sensors, vehicles, rotary-wing aircraft and weapons platforms in a seamless digital network to provide a clear, continuous and common picture of the battlefield. Most FBCB2 systems communicate via a satellite-based network; about 30 percent use the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, or EPLRS, tactical radio network.

The company was awarded the first FBCB2 development contract in January 1995.

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

CONTACT:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Information Systems
          (703) 345-7046
          janis.lamar@ngc.com