NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 11, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- News media are invited to the keel laying and authentication ceremony for the Virginia-class submarine North Carolina at Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Newport News sector on Saturday, May 22. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony. The ceremony is not open to the public.

Mrs. Linda Bowman, wife of U.S. Navy Admiral and Director of Naval Reactors Frank "Skip" Bowman, is the ship's sponsor and will serve as keel authenticator for the ceremony. Mrs. Bowman will authenticate the keel by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials will then be welded onto the plate, which will be permanently affixed to the submarine. The keel unit that will be authenticated is the North Carolina's auxiliary machine room.

Named for one of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina is the fourth ship of the Virginia class. It will be christened in 2006, and upon delivery to the Navy in 2007, will be the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, providing undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. Northrop Grumman Newport News is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build the first 10 ships of the Virginia class.

Other ceremony participants will include Northrop Grumman Newport News President Tom Schievelbein, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson, Congressman Bobby Scott, who represents Virginia's third district, Adm. Bowman, and Electric Boat President John Casey. Invited guests will include Newport News and Electric Boat employees who are building North Carolina, U.S. Navy personnel, and government officials.

Northrop Grumman Newport News, headquartered in Newport News, Va., is the nation's sole designer, builder, and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear powered submarines. Newport News also provides after-market services for a wide array of naval and commercial vessels. The Newport News sector employs about 19,000 people.

Satellite Information

Northrop Grumman Newport News will provide a live, multicamera, analog satellite broadcast of the ceremony in its entirety on May 22. Details are as follows:

  AMC5      5 Lower
 Uplink:   14150 horizontal
 Downlink: 11850 vertical
 Audio:    6.2  6.8
 Online:   9:45 a.m. EDT with a window through 11:45 p.m. EDT

Media Schedule

There are two opportunities for media to cover this event. All times listed are EDT.

Media Preview Day (May 21, 2004; 1:30 - 3 p.m.)

Northrop Grumman Newport News will host a special media preview Friday, May 21, at 2 p.m. This is an opportunity to preview the ceremony site, photograph/film ceremony preparations and talk with some of the shipyard employees who are building the ship.

May 21 Schedule:

  1:30 p.m.    News media meet in lobby of Building 520 for check-in
              and badging (corner of 41st and Washington Avenue; park
              in Visitor's Parking Area)
 2 p.m.       Media bused to the site of the North Carolina keel
              laying ceremony
 2-3 p.m.     Photo and interview opportunities
 3 p.m.       News media depart ceremony site

Keel Laying Ceremony (May 22, 2004; 8:30 - 11:15 a.m.)

  (media must arrive by 9:15 a.m.)

 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.   News media meet in the shipyard's North Yard
                    parking lot for check-in and badging (Take the
                    ramp down into the shipyard at Huntington Avenue
                    and 64th Street and follow media parking signs.)
 9:15 a.m.          Last media bus leaves for the site of the North
                    Carolina keel laying ceremony
 10 a.m.            North Carolina Keel Laying Ceremony begins
 11:15 a.m.         Ceremony ends; media availability with platform
                    participants who wish to participate will follow
                    the ceremony
 11:30 p.m.         News media depart ceremony site

If you are interested in attending either the May 21 Media Preview Day or the May 22 Keel Laying Ceremony, or both, please contact Jennifer Dellapenta at 757-380-3558 or by e-mail at

Arrangements for media credentials must be made by 4 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 18. Please have the following information available when you call or e-mail:

  -      Names of media persons attending and their role
        (reporter or photographer)
 -      Date and place of birth
 -      Social Security Number
 -      Name of news agency
  CONTACT: Jennifer Dellapenta
         Northrop Grumman Newport News 
         (757) 380-3558