NOTE TO EDITORS: This is a corrected news release from Northrop Grumman. Please disregard any earlier versions you may have received.
ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. , May 24, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft successfully released an inert GBU-38 weapon while carrying Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) LITENING AT targeting system during a recent weapon separation test at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Lexington Park, Md.
The test was conducted by the Naval Air Warfare Center - Aircraft Division, Patuxent River as part of an ongoing commercial sales agreement with Northrop Grumman. The GBU-38 is the 500-lb version of the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) air-to-surface weapon. In a combat environment, LITENING AT will generate the precise coordinates of the operator-selected target, which are then passed by the aircraft to the JDAM. After being released, the JDAM uses global positioning system signals to guide it to the selected target coordinates.
LITENING is currently operated by U.S. Marine F/A-18A+/D aircraft while carried on the aircraft's centerline station. The commercial sales agreement is designed to clear LITENING for carriage and weapons employment when mounted on the Hornet's portside fuselage station, where targeting systems are typically mounted. As with any weapons release program, a variety of configurations are being evaluated to ensure safe separation from the aircraft's adjacent station without flight restrictions. Besides the GBU-38, these include the GBU-12 (500-lb laser guided bomb), Mk-84 (2,000-lb bomb), AIM-120 (air-to-air missile) and FPU-8 (350-gallon fuel tank). The GBU-12 has also been successfully released, and the remaining tests should be completed in May 2005.
"The U.S. Marine Corps is on record as having selected LITENING as their precision targeting system program of choice to equip all of its expeditionary F/A-18 aircraft, and this agreement provides them with the unique operational flexibility to carry LITENING on either the centerline or portside station as dictated by mission requirements," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance Programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "It also provides a low-risk, cost-effective, fully combat-proven solution to their operational requirements for a third-generation targeting system."
Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division is a component of Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector - a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems and logistic services.
CONTACT: Katie Lamb Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (847) 259-9600, ext. 3542 Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org