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Northrop Grumman Selected to Participate in 'Fly-Off' for U.S. Army's Next Generation UAV Program

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 19, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected by the U.S. Army to demonstrate the system capabilities of its proposed entry for the service's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) unmanned aerial vehicle program as part of a "fly-off" between competing designs.

During the next three months, the company will conduct a series of ground and flight demonstrations at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. to show that Hunter II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), its ER/MP entry, can meet or exceed all of the Army's program requirements.

Northrop Grumman's system capabilities demonstration (SCD) contract is one of two ER/MP Phase I contracts awarded. The Army is expected to select a single contractor team for Phase II, the ER/MP system development and demonstration, during the second quarter of 2005. The program has an estimated total value of $900 million.

"During the SCD phase, we'll use ground and flight demonstrations to illustrate that the Hunter II can be easily operated by specialists and non-commissioned officers," explained Bill McCall, Northrop Grumman's ER/MP program director. "Our net-ready ER/MP solution includes an automatic take-off and landing subsystem, modern avionics from the newest Hunter UAV MQ-5B and an interface to the tactical UAV infrastructure and ground-control system used by other Army UAV systems."

Hunter II is a fully compliant UAV system that provides corps commanders with persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, communications relay and weapons capability. It builds on the successful legacy of the Northrop Grumman-developed RQ-5 Hunter UAV, the Army's interim extended-range/multi-purpose system. The RQ-5 Hunter has logged more than 32,000 flight hours, 13,000 of which have been in combat operations in the Balkans and Iraq.

"Hunter's past performance, reliability and mission availability will be the litmus test for future UAVs," said Christopher Hernandez, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems unit in San Diego. "Hunter II will provide maximum interoperability and collaboration with existing and future systems."

According to McCall, Hunter II exploits Northrop Grumman's strengths in advanced mission planning; joint, Army and coalition interoperability; and system-of-systems design. It will support the full spectrum of Army corps/division/Unit of Employment land warfare for both the current and Future Force. These capabilities, coupled with the innovations brought by Northrop Grumman's Hunter II teammates, will help the Army meet its transformation goals.

Northrop Grumman's Hunter II industry team is lead by the company's Integrated Systems sector with support from Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems, Space Technology and Electronic Systems sectors. Other team members include Aurora Flight Sciences, Manassas, Va., which will provide vehicle design support and manufacture the air vehicles at its Starkville, Miss., facility under license agreement with Israeli Aircraft Industries, Malat Division; CAS Inc, Huntsville, Ala., which will provide client-based knowledge of weapons, integration, performance-based logistics, and engineering test and evaluation; and Cubic Defense Applications, San Diego, which will provide advanced interoperable data links.

Northrop Grumman is the leading producer of unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S. Department of Defense. The company designs systems that span the capability spectrum from the U.S. Air Force's combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk and the Army's RQ-5 Hunter, to future combat systems such as the stealthy X-47 Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems, currently in development for a joint Air Force/U.S. Navy/DARPA team.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use in networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

CONTACT:  Brooks McKinney
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (310) 331-6610 office