RAAF BASE EDINBURGH, Australia, May 22, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance system, developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS), passed the 1,000 cumulative flight hour mark over the coastal waters of eastern Australia during its 81st flight. The mission was the first in a series of flights conducted as part of Tandem Thrust, the annual joint Royal Australian Navy/U.S. Navy exercise.

During the May 10 flight, the vehicle flew for 25.2 hours and reached a maximum altitude of 63,400 feet, bringing its flight hour total to 1,071.1 hours. During its first flight on Feb. 28, 1998, Global Hawk flew for one hour over Edwards AFB, Calif., at an altitude of 32,000 feet. Since then, the system has set world records for altitude, endurance and distance for jet-powered unmanned aircraft.

Global Hawk, a high-altitude, long-endurance system under development to provide military field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas, is in Australia for a series of missions to demonstrate maritime surveillance and coastal watch capabilities to the Australian government. The UAV is scheduled to make its return flight to the U.S. in early June.

Global Hawk is under development for the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Northrop Grumman ISS's Air Combat Systems business area is the prime contractor, with work performed at its Unmanned Systems facilities in San Diego and Palmdale, Calif.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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         Cynthia Curiel
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