RESTON, Va., and SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., June 18, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) contractor for the Liquid Booster target program, has achieved a significant milestone in the program by successfully initiating hot-fire testing of a hydrogen peroxide-based engine at the company's Capistrano Test Site (CTS).

Since the first firing in March of this year, Northrop Grumman has successfully conducted 38 full-scale hot fire tests, with more planned through the fall to verify engine performance and demonstrate plume signatures. A planned risk-reduction flight is scheduled in 2005.

"This development engine is the largest peroxide/hydrocarbon engine Northrop Grumman has designed and tested," said Jerry Agee, vice president, Missile Defense Division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. "The advantage of hydrogen peroxide technology and hydrocarbon fuel is a cleaner, more environmentally friendly engine that is easier to field and maintain. We were very confident of our approach since much of our knowledge of these chemicals is derived from our years of success using them in developing the airborne and tactical high-energy laser technologies."

CTS, a recognized national asset for propulsion, directed energy and energy testing, has hosted more than 28,000 engine firings. This 2,700-plus acre facility is home to the propulsion integration test stand, which is dedicated to MDA liquid engine development efforts. The Liquid Booster engine program will build on CTS's successful 40-year legacy, which includes development and testing of nationally important programs such as the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module Descent Engine and airborne laser technologies.

Targets currently being fielded by the U.S. government use solid rocket motors. Since many of today's threats use liquid propellant, MDA is developing a liquid booster alternative for future tests and evaluations. In April 2002, Northrop Grumman won a three-year, $30 million contract from MDA to design, develop and support a risk-reduction flight of a liquid booster.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a $3.5 billion 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; and technical services and training.

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