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Photo Release -- Northrop Grumman Starts Construction of its X-47B J-UCAS Unmanned Surveillance Attack Aircraft

SAN DIEGO, June 2, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has started construction of its X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) aircraft, the world's first unmanned surveillance attack aircraft that can operate from both land bases and aircraft carriers.

Photos accompanying this release are available at http://media.primezone.com/noc/

Production is taking place in the St. Louis, Mo., manufacturing facility of Northrop Grumman's teammate, GKN Aerospace. GKN is responsible for both the design and fabrication of the X-47B's forward fuselage. Final assembly of the first X-47B will begin this summer at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. facility.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy J-UCAS program will demonstrate the technical feasibility and operational utility of low-observable-or "stealth"-land- and sea-based unmanned surveillance attack aircraft, and provide the Air Force and Navy the option to acquire these systems early in the next decade. The X-47B design demonstrates a variety of foundational system capabilities including land- and carrier-based operations and automated aerial refueling. The design also demonstrates key mission-requirement capabilities such as persistent surveillance and reconnaissance, all-weather precision targeting, and precision attack of fixed and mobile surface targets.

The X-47B is Northrop Grumman's initial air-vehicle configuration for the modular X-47 system, which can support a broad range of advanced unmanned air-vehicle configurations and military operational performance requirements.

Northrop Grumman's J-UCAS program is led by the company's Integrated Systems sector. Other major industry teammates include Lockheed Martin Corporation and Pratt & Whitney.

GKN Aerospace is the aerospace operation of GKN plc, one of the world's largest engineering companies. GKN Aerospace has more than 6,000 employees in 15 "centers of manufacturing excellence" around the globe. The company specializes in the supply of lightweight-metallic and high-performance composite structures, transparency systems and equipment, and engineering services to prime airframe manufacturers. GKN Aerospace is the world leader in the production of composite assemblies for airframes and engines, in specialist metallic processes, and in the manufacturing of advanced cockpit transparencies and coatings.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on 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:  Cynthia Curiel
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (858) 618-4355
          cynthia.curiel@ngc.com
 
Images
J-UCAS Strut Assembly
GKN Aerospace in St. Louis, Mo. displays a freshly machined strut assembly for Northrop Grumman's X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) aircraft. This is one of the very first parts fabricated by GKN Aerospace for construction of the first J-UCAS aircraft which is under development to serve future military forces. Photo courtesy of GKN Aerospace.


J-UCAS Fuel Cell Door
Andrew Johnson, Northrop Grumman's air vehicle build leader displays a newly machined fuel cell floor for Northrop Grumman's X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) aircraft at GKN Aerospace in St. Louis, Mo. This is one of the very first parts fabricated by GKN Aerospace for construction of the first J-UCAS aircraft which is under development to serve future military forces. Photo courtesy of GKN Aerospace.