PASCAGOULA, Miss., Jan. 10, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- On Saturday Jan. 15, Dionel M. Aviles, undersecretary of the U.S. Navy, will give the principal address at the christening of Mesa Verde (LPD 19), an amphibious transport dock ship being built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC).

The ceremony, which will include Native American tradition and symbolism, will be held at the company's Pascagoula shipyard.

The name Mesa Verde honors Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. The Park was established in 1906 to preserve sites built by Native Americans on mesa tops and in canyon alcoves. Navy Cmdr. Shawn Lobree, a native of Miami, is Mesa Verds prospective commanding officer. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in 2006 and will be homeported in Norfolk, Va.

Mesa Verde (LPD 19) is the third ship in the San Antonio (LPD 17)-class of amphibious transport dock ships being built for the Navy/U.S. Marine Corps team by Northrop Grumman. Construction is taking place at the company's Pascagoula shipyard with fabrication and additional support from three other company facilities: Gulfport, Miss., and New Orleans and Tallulah, La.

Displacing nearly 25,000 tons, these ships will be the second-largest in the Navy's 21st Century Expeditionary Strike Group. Mesa Verde will have a crew of 360 sailors and three Marines and can carry up to 699 troops with a surge capability of up to 800.

  When:      Saturday, Jan. 15,
            Media should arrive by 9:30 a.m.

            Ceremony begins promptly at 10 a.m.

 Sponsor:   Linda Campbell, wife of U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse
            Campbell (Ret.) of Colorado
 Guest
 Speakers:  Gov. Peter Pino, Pueblo of Zia, Mesa Verde, Colo.

            Navy Rear Adm. Charles S. Hamilton, program executive
            officer for ships

            Navy Capt. David Bella, supervisor of shipbuilding for
            the Gulf Coast

            Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems

            Bat Robinson, Northrop Grumman vice president and
            general manager, expeditionary programs

 Where:     Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
            1000 Access Road
            Pascagoula, Miss.

 RSVP to:   Bill Glenn
            (228) 935-3972
            William.Glenn@ngc.com
 

Background

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ships are 684 feet (208.5 meters) long and 105 feet (31.9 meters) wide and will replace the functions of four classes of older amphibious ships. This new class of ship affords the U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group with the technology and flexibility to launch and recover amphibious landing craft such as the Landing Craft, Air Cushion , operate an array of rotary-wing aircraft, as well as the ability to carry and launch the Marine Corp's Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems is one of the nation's leading full-service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life-cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies.

  CONTACT:  Bill Glenn
          Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
          (228) 935-3972
          William.Glenn@ngc.com