RESTON, Va., Nov. 3, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its twelfth CMMI(r) Level 5 rating, the highest possible for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering.

The Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory (ESL), part of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, has attained an organization-wide Level 5 maturity rating against the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI(r)) standard.

The achievement marks the seventh CMMI(r) Level 5 rating for the company's Mission Systems sector.

This rating ranks Northrop Grumman within the top 10 percent of the industry, 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 Sacramento and San Jose facilities. Comskil, Inc., 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.

"This assessment of ESL at CMMI maturity rating 5 is another example that Northrop Grumman ESL can be successful at whatever it commits to doing," said Rick LaPado, ESL vice president and deputy general manager. "Our infrastructure has continued to mature and keep pace with our growth in business over the past few years. I'm confident that ESL is well prepared to continue this same rate of growth in the future."

"Management demonstrated commitment to SEI CMMI Maturity Level 5 helped to ensure this success," said Galina Knopman, external lead appraiser from Comskil, Inc. "All levels of the organization are involved and focused on continuous improvement. ESL has done an excellent job integrating their ISO, AS-9100, Six Sigma, and CMMI efforts within a Mission Assurance context."

To date, the Mission Systems sector's Battlefield Command & Control and Logistics Automation, Battlefield Digitization and Communications Systems, Systems Development Operations, Data Systems Operations, Missile Defense Division (Huntsville Operations), and Defense Mission Systems business areas also achieved CMMI(r) Level 5.

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 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.

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  CONTACT:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems 
          (703) 345-7046
          Janis.lamar@ngc.com