WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 29, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- ERG Group, a global leader in smart card-based transit fare collection and management systems, and Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Information Technology (IT) sector, announced that work has begun on the SmarTrip(r) Regional Customer Service Center (RCSC), a project that will enable residents of the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia metro area to use one card to pay fares across multiple transit systems.

The RCSC is a critical component in developing a new integrated smart card-based fare collection system for the area.

ERG and Northrop Grumman IT have received a notice to proceed on the project from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The regional transit authority had selected the two companies for the project earlier this year. ERG will be responsible for the management of smart cards and operation of the data processing system incorporating clearing, settlement and financial management and will use its existing central computer processing system installed in the San Francisco Bay area to perform these functions. As an ERG subcontractor and partner on the project, Northrop Grumman IT will be responsible for the distribution of smart cards and operation of the customer service center in the Washington, D.C. area.

"We are very pleased that the Washington, D.C., area is moving forward with integrated transit," said Michael Nash, general manager of ERG's operations in the Americas. "The SmarTrip(r) program will create a new level of seamless convenience for the region's commuters, giving them the ability to use a single card for all of their mass transit needs."

The RCSC project allows passengers to use a single smart card to pay fares across 17 transit systems. The system, which is expected to grow to a card base of more than one million over a five-year period, will interface with existing installed hardware such as gates and readers. The project involves the development and operation of a smart card customer service center, card management systems, and the clearing and settling of smart card transactions.

"We welcome the opportunity to be a key member of the ERG team supporting WMATA's SmarTrip(r) program," said Mike Freeman, director, Transportation, Northrop Grumman IT. "This project will allow Northrop Grumman to expand its smart card activities as well as develop a systems integration presence in the transit industry."

The ERG Group is a world leader in the development and supply of integrated fare management and software systems for the transit industry, and for its smart card systems and services. The Group has installed systems in major cities throughout the world including Hong Kong, Melbourne, Rome, San Francisco and Singapore with installations in progress in Gothenburg, Seattle, Stockholm, Sydney and Washington D.C. ERG has delivered systems that support more than 20 million smart cards in circulation and handle approximately five billion transactions per annum. ERG is an Australian-based company, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and employs 800 people in 11 countries.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, headquartered in Herndon, Va., is a trusted IT leader and premier provider of advanced IT solutions, engineering and business services for government and commercial clients. The company's expertise spans such areas as information systems integration; information technology security; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); homeland security; enterprise hardware and software solutions; training and simulation; base and range support; signals intelligence; health informatics; space systems; and specialized scientific, engineering and technical services.

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