BETHPAGE, N.Y. and BELLINGHAM, Wash., Dec. 12, 2006 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Aluminum Chambered Boats, Inc. (ACB), Bellingham, Wash., jointly announce that the two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore future combat system requirements and capabilities for the U.S. Navy's anticipated Riverine/Coastal Warfare program. The companies have also agreed to design and build a riverine craft technology demonstrator that will integrate Northrop Grumman's leading-edge navigation, surveillance, network and command and control systems onboard an innovative, ACB-designed riverine-class hullform.

The two companies will develop a system that will meet the emerging Riverine/Coastal Warfare program requirement. The program is designed to integrate the 21st century expeditionary warfighter into the U.S. Navy's service-wide FORCEnet network-centric warfare architecture. This will give expeditionary warfighters dynamic, real-time command and control capability with greatly expanded situational awareness and vastly improved survivability.

Aluminum Chambered Boats will design an industry-unique, riverine craft technology demonstrator that will be highly maneuverable, fast and stable. Northrop Grumman will outfit the platform with weapon and sensor systems, all of which will be integrated with onboard and off-board systems-of-systems and command and control architecture. Sailors and Marines in the expeditionary force will use the demonstrator to explore concepts of operation for coastal and inland waterway operations.

The team also plans to pursue an emerging global market that is seeking similar capabilities. Applications include the global war on terrorism and allied requirements for coalition interoperability as part of the U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations' vision for a "1000 ship navy."

"A primary aspect of the Riverine/Coastal Warfare program will be its concept of operations, which embodies distributed and networked operations and brings C4ISR into coastal operations and up river," says David Stafford, vice president of Maritime Systems for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "It will advance our ability to collaborate with host nations and allies and enhance our maritime domain awareness using geospatial and temporal information. This is imperative if we are to advance cooperation with littoral nations. It is particularly important for theater security and, if we are to operate collectively in territorial waters, for the preclusion of terrorism expansion into the global commons of the sea.

"Programs like Riverine reflect a new national security paradigm founded on shared perspectives and common interests that will create real capacities in prevention, protection and consequence-management of these common waters," Stafford said. "ACB's boats have earned a stellar reputation for performance on some of the most difficult rivers and open waters in the world and will be an excellent partner to bring our sailors and Marines out of the littorals and into the shallows."

Larry Wieber, ACB founder and chief executive officer, said, "We are confident that this joint relationship will develop a new class of state-of-the-art, systems-integrated modular Riverine craft."

ACB president and chief operating officer Tim Metz said, "We are excited about working with Northrop Grumman on this project. ACB and Northrop Grumman share a similar vision: to provide those who are in harm's way with the best possible resources to keep them safe and help them accomplish their mission, whatever that may be. This is a major step in the continuing growth of ACB."

Aluminum Chambered Boats, Inc. is an aluminum boat manufacturer headquartered in Bellingham, Wash. Aluminum Chambered Boats provides rugged state-of-the-art aluminum boats to Government, Recreational and Commercial customers on a global basis. Aluminum Chambered Boats was selected as the fleet replacement for the U.S. Marines Corps Bridge Erection Boat. ACB was deemed "Urgent Mission Essential" by the U.S. Navy after 9/11.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  John A. Vosilla
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (516) 575-5119
          John.Vosilla@ngc.com

          Tim Metz
          Aluminum Chambered Boats
          (360) 647-0345
          TMetz@ACBBoats.com