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Northrop Grumman's APG-81 Radar Sensor Performs Flawlessly On First Mission Systems Flight of Lockheed Martin F-35 Aircraft

BALTIMORE, June 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) new APG-81 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar met and exceeded its performance objectives successfully tracking long-range targets as part of the first mission systems test flights of Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) F-35 Lightning II BF-4 aircraft.

"Over the last five years, Northrop Grumman has demonstrated unparalleled levels of program success with the APG-81 radar," said Jeff Leavitt, vice president of combat avionics at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector. "During the F-35 flight, the Northrop Grumman APG-81 radar met and exceeded performance expectations, tracking long range targets at all aspect angles with excellent stability. We look forward to working with Lockheed Martin in demonstrating the APG-81's high resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and other advanced capabilities on subsequent test flights."

In August 2005, the APG-81 radar was flown for the first time aboard Northrop Grumman's BAC 1-11 airborne laboratory. Since then, the radar system has accumulated over 300 flight hours, maturing all five blocks of software. The first radar flight on Lockheed Martin's CATBird avionics test bed aircraft took place in November 2008.  

"Northrop Grumman also demonstrated the APG-81's outstanding electronic protection capabilities at Operation Northern Edge in June of last year, far in advance of test program requirements," added Leavitt. "These last five years of comprehensive test bed aircraft flight testing involving the mission critical radar sensor, combined with the recent flight aboard the F-35 aircraft, point to a significant maturity in capability and reduction in risk for the F-35 program."

The Block 0.5 radar software installed in the radar used during the recent F-35 flight test incorporates 60 percent of the radar software to be delivered and provides important capabilities, including long range air-to-air search and track as well as SAR modes, Leavitt noted. The AN/APG-81 radar detected airborne targets before the radars on the F-16 and F-18 chase planes, said Leavitt. Radar and electronic warfare fusion was also observed on the first flights.

"I've flown a number of AESAs and this is the smoothest one out of the box," said David 'Doc' Nelson, Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot.

Additionally, the F-35 Lightning II aircraft was equipped with Northrop Grumman's revolutionary Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System, which provides passive missile and aircraft threat detection, as well as infrared day and night vision which is projected directly onto the pilot's helmet visor for a fully spherical view around the aircraft.

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. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

CONTACT:  Paul C. Cabellon
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (410) 765-7192
          paul.cabellon@ngc.com