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Northrop Grumman's Next-Generation Fire Scout UAV on Track

SAN DIEGO, June 23, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The next-generation RQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) produced by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently completed several milestone reviews critical to the system's continued development.

The company's Integrated Systems sector is developing the enhanced vertical takeoff and landing UAV for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. The Navy and Army conducted contractual reviews of the new configuration in order to monitor the system's continued development to common requirements.

"Northrop Grumman and our primary customers conducted detailed milestone reviews of the new RQ-8B including a preliminary review of the system's design, airframe and propulsion systems," said Nick Yorio, Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems director of tactical systems, which includesthe Fire Scout program. "The company is committed to enhance Fire Scout's performance in order to meet challenging requirements set by both the Navy and the Army including the ability to maintain current performance while carrying heavier and more robust payloads. These key reviews ensured that we are on track to cost-effectively develop and deliver the optimum system for our customers."

Additional reviews are planned for later this year to validate system upgrades, review Fire Scout's compatibility with the Navy's next-generation littoral combat ship and with NATO interoperability standards, perform weapons integration for Army-related applications, and review the system's modular payload architecture.

Northrop Grumman is also working with the Navy on Fire Scout capabilities that will be critical to the littoral combat ship's mission to protect and monitor the shoreline, coastal waters and open seas. These will include Fire Scout's ability to deploy precision-guided munitions and to carry several new payloads for advanced communications, maritime and land-based surveillance, and mine detection. The mine-detection payloads will use sensors Northrop Grumman is developing for the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.

The company continues to conduct risk-reduction flight tests of the current RQ-8A configuration at the Navy's UAV test facility at the Webster Field annex, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Current tests have validated and verified Fire Scout's data communications and navigation systems. Testing will continue through June.

The flight-test team is also preparing the system for a flight demonstration on June 27 at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's demonstration day, also at Webster Field. The Navy-sponsored demonstration day provides a venue for UAV producers to conduct flight demonstrations for military customers and other government officials.

Northrop Grumman is the leading producer of unmanned systems for the United States' military with a portfolio that spans a broad spectrum of capabilities. Current systems in service, production, or development include the combat-proven U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk and Army RQ-5 Hunter unmanned reconnaissance systems currently supporting the global war on terrorism; the BQM-34 and BQM-74 aerial targets; the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical UAV in development for the Navy and for Army Future Combat Systems Class IV unmanned air-vehicle program; the multi-role Hunter II proposed for the Army's next-generation, extended-range, multi-purpose UAV program; and the X-47 Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Air Force, and Navy. The company is advancing its unmanned-systems capabilities in the areas of command and control, open system architecture, manned/unmanned interoperability, and software development.

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:  Tim Paynter
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-4245
          tim.paynter@ngc.com