SAN DIEGO, Sept. 1, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Navy completed the first flight of the BQM-74F subsonic aerial target Aug. 29 at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division sea range at Point Mugu, Calif.

The F model is the newest addition to the U.S. Navy's family of targets, providing increased speed, range, endurance and maneuverability, allowing the Navy to better simulate airborne threats against surface ships.

Once the target was launched, it flew nearly an hour, meeting all of the test objectives, and was successfully recovered for reuse.

"In a world of increasingly sophisticated cruise missile threats that our Sailors face everyday, the BQM-74F represents a major leap forward in replicating those potential threats," said Capt. Richard Walter, the Navy's program manager of Aerial Target and Decoy Systems. "The BQM-74F will be used to train our sailors and help develop future upgrades to weapons systems designed to protect them. It will stress today's combat systems and the crews that employ them, providing a target that is faster, more maneuverable and has greater endurance than targets that have come before," he added.

The BQM-74F can fly 70 percent farther than the E model. It also is 15 percent faster and offers a 75 percent increase in endurance. The enhanced performance stems from an upgraded Williams turbo jet engine that provides 300 pounds of thrust, and a new swept wing and tail design. Increased endurance and speed, coupled with maneuvers up to 8G, means the target more accurately simulates current-day, high-speed aircraft or inbound missiles that may threaten Navy warships. The new target also employs advanced avionics that Northrop Grumman has developed on other UAV programs.

Northrop Grumman is delivering four BQM-74F targets for the flight test phase of the new target and is building two company-owned targets in support of the program.

Northrop Grumman's targets programs are the world's longest-running unmanned aircraft system production programs and can be traced back to U.S. Army and Navy targets contracts in 1939. Since then, Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 100,000 aerial targets to all branches of the U.S. military and its allies. The BQM-74 series, of which the F model is the latest version, first entered production in 1966.

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:  Tim Paynter
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (858) 618-4245
          tim.paynter@ngc.com