BETHPAGE, N.Y. and BELLINGHAM, Wash., May 23, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The test bed for a new concept in military combat river craft, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) in partnership with Aluminum Chambered Boats, Inc. (ACB), "splashed" into Bellingham Bay in Washington recently, initiating its in-water evaluation.

The Riverine experimental boat -- named Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft -- integrates Northrop Grumman's leading-edge navigation, surveillance, network and command and control systems into an innovative, tactical-class hull form designed and built by ACB.

ACB's design is 41 feet long with a 9-foot-11-inch beam and a draft of only 28 inches. Powered by two Cummins QSC 8.3-liter, 540 HP turbocharged diesel engines, the Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft has a top speed of 48 miles per hour. With a crew of four, the new boat has room for another two observers and, depending on the mission, can also ferry a 14-member combat team or various cargoes up rivers or streams.

Northrop Grumman has designed a suite of network-centric warfare mission systems for the boat. These include integrated electro-optical/infrared and radar sensors with 360-degree field of view; VHF/UHF radios with Internet Protocol capability (and provisions for growth for other radios); a wireless intercom system with active noise cancellation; common operator workstations with 17-inch color displays that have night vision compatibility and selectable crew station functions.

"Our goal was to apply Northrop Grumman's wealth of weapon systems integration expertise to the emerging opportunities in littoral and maneuver warfare. We've spent decades developing systems that enable distributed and networked operations. In today's dangerous world, these systems let us work with our allies to enhance theater security. Integrated systems on craft such as our Riverine concept enable us to collectively prosecute those who seek to exploit the seams in our security by availing themselves of the shallows, saltpans, marshes and rivers," said David Stafford, vice president of Maritime and Tactical Systems for Northrop Grumman.

"This was a Herculean effort by the team," said Stafford. "We look forward first to showcasing the Riverine boat and how it integrates with off-board systems and, more importantly, to supporting our men and women who are engaged in expeditionary operations in the War on Terrorism."

"The first 'splash' of a new boat is cause for celebration, but this one has significance for us at several levels," said Tim Metz, ACB's president and chief operating officer. "First, the men and women who serve deserve the best total package to help them complete their missions and safely return home. Our Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft is such a package."

"Beyond that, the ability to go from first jig-load to splash in five months is a great accomplishment, attributable both to our dedication and to the caliber of the people involved at both Aluminum Chambered Boats and Northrop Grumman," he continued.

The Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft and its systems will be demonstrated for the first time to potential customers and the press at the Multi-agency Craft Conference, June 5-7 in Little Creek, Va.

Aluminum Chambered Boats Inc. is an aluminum boat manufacturer headquartered in Bellingham, Wash. ACB provides rugged state-of-the-art aluminum boats to government, recreational and commercial customers on a global basis. ACB 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 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          John Vosilla
          (516) 575-5119
          John.Vosilla@ngc.com
      
          Aluminum Chambered Boats
          Laura Kaestner
          (360) 647-0345
          laurak@acbboats.com