REDONDO BEACH, Calif., June 25, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- A recent test conducted by the Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)/Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) Transformational Satellite Communications (TSAT) space segment team has validated that its laser communications technology developed for the Risk Reduction and System Definition phase has achieved the goal of Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL-6) -- a key milestone on the path to flight for the TSAT program.

Technology readiness levels are used by U.S. government agencies to measure technology's state of maturity as it progresses from concept or invention to fielding in operational systems. Technology Readiness Level 6 is met when a representative prototype system has demonstrated functionality in an environment relevant to its intended operation.

The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman TSAT team has performed a series of tests of its lasercom technology during the TSAT Risk Reduction and System Definition (RR&SD) phase, in compliance with the U.S. Air Force-directed testing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory. Following an independent validation of the function and performance of Northrop Grumman's lasercom subsystem completed in March, the team has since conducted environmental testing of critical components. With the successful completion of these environmental tests, the criteria for TRL-6 have been satisfied, and another key milestone was achieved on schedule under the team's risk reduction plan for TSAT.

"Completing this key milestone on schedule demonstrates the effectiveness of our team's processes for developing critical space technologies," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "This essential technology continues to move TSAT on a solid path toward flight and the delivery of the capabilities needed by our nation's warfighters."

TSAT is the military's next-generation, protected, wideband satellite communications system for military and intelligence users. Using high-speed optical communications (lasercom), Internet protocol network routing, and communications-on-the-move capability, TSAT will provide a dramatic increase in connectivity, speed and mobility for future warfighters.

"Our team's success in advancing the key TSAT technologies will prove to be enormously valuable in the next phase of this critical program," said Leonard F. Kwiatkowski, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Military Space Programs. "With our successful technology development and risk reduction efforts completed during the RR&SD phase, as well as our extensive experience in delivering protected MILSATCOM systems, we stand ready to help our customer achieve mission success on this essential program for the warfighter."

The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman TSAT space segment team is currently working under a $514 million contract for the risk reduction and system definition phase. With a legacy of successfully developing new satellite communications technologies and integrating them into progressively more advanced military systems, the team is competing for the subsequent development and production phase of TSAT, which is planned to be awarded in late 2007.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif., serves as the prime contractor. Northrop Grumman Space Technology is responsible for the communications payload, including laser and radio-frequency communications and on-board processing. The U.S. Air Force is managing the program at the MILSATCOM Systems Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Bob Bishop
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          310.812.5227
          Cell: 310.251.0261 
          bob.j.bishop@ngc.com