EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 10, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Department of Defense has presented a David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award to a U.S. Air Force/Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) team for improving the B-2 stealth bomber's combat readiness while reducing program costs. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's B-2 prime contractor.

The David Packard award recognizes Defense Department civilian and military organizations, groups or teams that make significant, innovative contributions to the way the department acquires goods and services. It is named for the co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company and former deputy defense secretary, who later chaired the Blue Ribbon Commission on Defense Management under President Ronald Reagan.

The award, one of three Packard awards presented Nov. 17, cited the team for making the acquisition system "more efficient, responsive and timely" and for reducing the life-cycle cost of the B-2 weapon system. For example, the team reduced the average time to order and install critical B-2 parts by more than 75 percent in 2003.

"The Packard award recognizes the effectiveness of the B-2 team in responding to the aircraft's requirements in the field," said Duke Dufresne, Northrop Grumman sector vice president and B-2 program manager. "Our success in helping streamline the B-2 acquisition process coupled with the ongoing capability upgrade program demonstrate Northrop Grumman's commitment to ensuring that the Air Force's premier long-range strike system remains as effective in the future as it is today."

In addition to its B-2 field support, added Dufresne, Northrop Grumman is working on several new capabilities to improve the aircraft's ability to communicate and exchange data with joint force commanders and share updated target information during a mission. Other upgrade efforts are enhancing the B-2's radar and weapons capabilities.

In 2002, Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector and the Air Force's B-2 program office signed an agreement called the Total Systems Support Partnership (TSSP). The agreement enables Northrop Grumman employees to work more closely with Air Force personnel to anticipate needs and improve response times in the B-2 supply chain.

The B-2 TSSP was modeled after a successful agreement created in 2000 between the Air Force and Northrop Grumman that provides support for the service's fleet of E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft. The Air Force/Northrop Grumman Joint STARS team won a Packard award in 2001.

Under the B-2 agreement, Northrop Grumman's Information Technology sector manages the parts procurement as the principal subcontractor to the Integrated Systems sector.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 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.

  CONTACT:  Jim Hart
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (310) 331-3616
          james.f.hart@ngc.com