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TIPS Industries Receive NATO AGS Contract to Move Programme Forward

BRUSSELS, April 28, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- TIPS industries have received a NATO contract in excess of EUR 20 million to move the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme forward. The award came during the Conference of National Armament Directors meeting. The contract will address issues such as interoperability, NATO airborne early warning and control harmonisation and potential cost-saving measures in parallel to the programme's upcoming design and development (D&D) phase.

The award follows NATO's selection of the TIPS mixed fleet to meet the NATO requirement for the AGS core capability and the decision of 23 nations to participate in the programme. As part of this study, the TIPS industries will also address integration of the Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radar (TCAR) into to TIPS mixed fleet. The study will be completed by late 2005 paralleling and paving the way for a smooth transition into the D&D phase.

At the signing ceremony in NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the TIPS Industries, EADS (Germany), Galileo Avionica (Italy), General Dynamics Canada (Canada), Indra (Spain), Northrop Grumman (USA) and Thales (France), were represented by Alan Doshier, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems vice president. Tom Enders, CEO of EADS Defence and Security Systems, served as a witness.

"This contract award reaffirms the strong support for the AGS programme and further signals NATO's commitment to get the programme underway," commented Enders. "We expect that this study will provide NATO and the nations with a clear road map towards a successful D&D phase."

"We are committed and the TIPS consortium is healthy," added Doshier. "We are more confident than ever in the mandate of NATO and each other. We have accelerated our activity to ensure everything will be in place well ahead of the D&D approval expected later this year."

The process to establish a combined enterprise is well underway and will be completed during the build up to the D&D phase.

The NATO AGS system will provide situational awareness through a shared common-ground picture that will be available to NATO and national decision makers. The TIPS mixed fleet of manned and unmanned systems will provide the Alliance with a core component for the NATO Response Force, providing a critical capability designed to meet its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and command and control requirements for the 21st century. The mixed-fleet solution will also support a variety of new mission requirements for NATO including nation building, homeland security and humanitarian relief. The cooperatively developed TCAR radar, which will be integrated on both platforms, draws on state-of-the-art technologies of both U.S. and European radar industries.

The TIPS Industrial Team

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2004, the Group generated revenues of over EUR 31.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 110,000.

Galileo Avionica embodies the avionics and airborne radar capabilities of Finmeccanica, Italy's largest high-technologies company and national defence leader.

General Dynamics Canada is Canada's largest defence company with a global reputation for providing integrated mission solutions to land, sea and air systems.

Indra is the leading Spanish company in information technologies with a very active presence in the defence market and is the 5th European information technologies company by market capitalization, with revenues amounting to EUR 1 billion and more than 6,500 employees. Indra is deeply involved in complex and critical defence programmes for the Ministries of Defence of countries around the world.

Northrop Grumman Corporation, a global defence company, is the prime contractor for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and E-10A airborne ground surveillance aircraft, the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle and the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Programme. The company's Northrop Grumman ISS International, Inc. subsidiary manages its work on the TIPS team.

Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, serving defence, aerospace and security markets. The group employs 62,000 people worldwide and generated revenues of EUR 10.3 billion in 2004.

CONTACT:  EADS:
          Stephanie Chalmers 
          49-89 607 21918
          stephanie.chalmers@eads.com 

          Galileo Avionica:
          Mirta de Benedictis
          39-0-64-1883719
          mirta.debenedictis@galileoavionica.it

          GD Canada:
          John Fournier
          613-596-7531
          john.fournier@gdcanada.com

          Indra:
          Susana Velasco
          34 91 480 9726
          svelasco@indra.es 

          Northrop Grumman:
          Jim Stratford
          321-726-7526
          jim.stratford@ngc.com

          Thales:
          Brigitte Poree
          33 6 86 45 15 07
          brigitte.poree@thalesgroup.com