MELBOURNE, Fla., April 11, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its eighteenth CMMI(R) Level 5 rating, the highest possible for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best management practices for systems engineering and software processes.

The Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems business area, part of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, has attained an organization-wide Level 5 maturity rating against the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI(R)) standard.

The achievement marks the first CMMI(R) Level 5 rating for the Integrated Systems sector and the eighteenth for Northrop Grumman, the most Level 5 ratings earned by any defense or commercial company to date.

This rating ranks Northrop Grumman within the top 10 percent of the industry in process management and assures Northrop Grumman customers that the company is providing improved quality, greater productivity and predictable program performance.

The rating was achieved after a comprehensive assessment conducted at the company's Melbourne, Fla., facilities. The Process Company, LLC, an external organization independent of Northrop Grumman, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the formal Standard CMMI(R) Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI(TM)) methodology.

"The success at achieving the CMMI(R) Maturity Level 5 at our Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems business area is further evidence of our commitment to quality and continuous process improvement," said Alan Doshier, sector vice president of the business area. "The systems engineering and software processes we have in place are key to our business growth and profitability. This marketplace discriminator will continue to pay dividends in customer satisfaction and productivity improvement."

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The SEI's core purpose is to help others make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities.

The CMMI(R) standard was developed by a coalition of industry, government and the Software Engineering Institute to objectively assess the full range of an organization's software and systems engineering, program management and organizational management capabilities. There are five levels of CMMI(R) maturity, each a layer in the foundation for on-going process improvement, designated by the numbers one through five with five being the highest. Higher maturity levels signify lower risks to successful program execution.

"The changes that this division has made transitioning from CMMI(R) Maturity Level 3 to Level 5 are significant," said Andreas Felschow, external lead appraiser for The Process Company and SEI partner. "The business area understands the value of quantitative management of their systems engineering and software processes and their enthusiasm for making measurable improvements contributed significantly to their rapid progress."

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, the prime contractor for the U.S. Air Force E-8C Joint STARS and E-10A programs, is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use in networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

(R) Capability Maturity Model Integrated and CMMI are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.

  CONTACT: 

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
Jim Stratford
(321) 726-7526
jim.stratford@ngc.com