BALTIMORE, Jan. 5, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The F-22 radar team, led by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector under contract to The Boeing Company, achieved a key milestone recently with the successful first flight of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on board Raptor 4004. This is the first F-22 fighter aircraft to fly with advanced avionics hardware and software.

Initial reports from the test pilot and instrumented data indicate that the radar was successfully tracking multiple targets almost immediately after the aircraft lifted off Nov. 15 from Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Ga., facilities.

"This is a very significant event for the F-22's engineering and manufacturing development program," said Larry Lloyd, F-22 Programs Director at Northrop Grumman. "It is an early indication that radar performance testing on the F-22 will be a seamless expansion of the successful radar flight testing on Boeing's 757 Flying Test Bed (FTB) since early 1999."

Full radar functionality will be demonstrated when Block 3.0 avionics software is integrated into Raptor 4005. Airborne tests of the radar system will focus on those capabilities and scenarios that cannot be duplicated using the FTB, Mr. Lloyd noted.

"To date, the performance of the radar with the Block 3.0 software onboard the FTB has met or exceeded all expectations," Mr. Lloyd said. "We're confident this outstanding radar performance will continue when Raptor 4005 takes to the skies."

A Northrop Grumman-led joint venture with the Raytheon Company has been developing the F-22 radar system for more than 10 years. In addition to sharing hardware fabrication and assembly with Raytheon, Northrop Grumman is responsible for the overall design of the AN/APG-77 radar system, including the control and signal processing software. Northrop Grumman also has responsibility for radar systems integration and test activities.

The main component of the radar sensor is a highly reliable AESA, which provides the rapid beam agility, low radar cross section, and target detection capability that enables the air dominance fighter to achieve its "first look, first kill" capability.

In addition to the AESA, the radar sensor subassemblies include a radar support electronics unit similar to a traditional receiver/exciter, a radio frequency receiver unit, an array power supply, an aircraft installation kit and a coolant distribution manifold.

All 11 Engineering and Manufacturing Development radar systems have been built and delivered on time and within cost projections.

A total of 339 F-22 aircraft are planned. Low-rate initial production of the radar is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2001.

Teamed with Lockheed Martin to design and build the F-22 Raptor, Boeing is responsible for integrating the radar with all avionics systems to produce an integrated sensor suite featuring fused sensor target detection and tracking.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, headquartered in Baltimore, is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics and systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, space systems, marine systems, logistics systems, and automation and information systems.

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         Jack Martin Jr.
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