CLEARFIELD, Utah, Nov. 2, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its twenty-first CMMI(r) Level 5 rating, the highest possible for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering.

The ICBM Prime Integration Contract (IPIC), part of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, has attained an organization-wide Level 5 maturity rating against the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI(r)) standard.

Although many individual projects within Northrop Grumman have achieved "best-practice" ratings in previous Level 5 ratings, this is the first time an organization, encompassing six individual projects, achieved best-practice ratings in supplier agreement management, measurement and analysis, and risk management for every project rated. The appraisal team also rated the IPIC overall management and engineering approaches superior and consistently implemented across the IPIC organization.

The achievement marks the sixteenth CMMI(r) Level 5 rating for the Mission Systems sector, and builds on Northrop Grumman's continued status as the leader in Level 5 ratings earned by any defense or commercial company to date.

"Achieving CMMI Level 5 for system engineering and associated program management is an extremely important milestone for our ICBM contract," said John Clay, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's ICBM prime integration contract. "Engineering plays a critical role in our business and as such, we've put considerable energy into our process-excellence activities. Earning a Level 5 is a testament to our 50-year legacy of robust systems engineering processes and quality that's defined our ICBM program. More importantly, CMMI Level 5 gives our customer additional confidence in our ability to help them ensure the continued readiness of the ICBM fleet."

This rating ranks Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in the 95th percentile of the industry, and assures Northrop Grumman customers that the company is providing improved quality, greater productivity and predictable program performance.

"This legacy of systems engineering and best practices recognized in the CMMI Level 5 rating for the ICBM program have already been brought to bear on similar missile integration contracts within Mission Systems," added Clay.

The rating was achieved after a comprehensive assessment conducted at Northrop Grumman's Clearfield, Utah facility. Multi-Dimensional Maturity, an external consulting organization independent of Northrop Grumman, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the formal Standard CMMI(r) Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI(tm)) methodology.

"Management-demonstrated commitment to the Software Engineering Institute's CMMI Maturity Level 5 helped to ensure this success," said Dr. Richard Waina, external lead appraiser from Multi-Dimensional Maturity. "All levels of the organization are involved and focused on continuous improvement. Every individual's commitment to process discipline and improvement was quite evident. IPIC has done an excellent job integrating their ISO (International Organization for Standardization), Six Sigma and CMMI efforts."

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems is the Air Force's ICBM prime integration contractor supporting its customer in maintaining alert readiness of the United States' ICBM weapon system. Northrop Grumman and its teammates and subcontractors provide program management, system engineering, integration, domain expertise, subsystem expertise and other necessary ICBM industrial capabilities. The 15-year prime contract was awarded in December 1997 and is currently valued at $4.5 billion with a total projected value of more than $6 billion. Northrop Grumman manages a team consisting of three principal teammates and more than 20 subcontractors.

The Software Engineering Institute 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 institute'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 ongoing process improvement, designated by the numbers one through five with five being the highest. Higher maturity levels signify lower risks to successful program execution.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil government markets. The sector's technology leadership and expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; technical services; and training.

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

  CONTACT:  Marynoele R. Benson
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 741-7723