NEW ORLEANS, La., July 19, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced today that the Avondale Alliance, led by Northrop Grumman Avondale, has been awarded $113.2 million for advance procurement of long lead materials for ships five and six in the SAN ANTONIO Class LPD 17 Program.

"This advance procurement award demonstrates the importance of the LPD 17 Program and the Navy's commitment to it," said Tom Kitchen, president of Northrop Grumman Avondale. "We look forward to working on these follow-on ships."

Long lead materials consist of items such as the main engines, generators, controllable pitch propellers and reduction gears. Advance procurement is necessary for these critical long lead items in order to exercise vendor option rates.

As prime contractor for the LPD 17 Program, Northrop Grumman Avondale leads the Avondale Alliance -- a team comprised of General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works, Raytheon Electronic Systems and Intergraph Corporation. Design work is complete and the first ship in the program is in production.

To date, contracts for four ships have been awarded in the 12-ship program with the eight additional ships planned in the next four to five years. Value of the four ships awarded to date is in excess of $2 billion. Eight of the ships will be built at Avondale in New Orleans, while four are currently planned for production at Bath Iron Works in Maine, including the fifth ship which was part of today's award. Start of fabrication on LPD 18, NEW ORLEANS, will begin at Avondale in February 2002, with the start of LPD 19, MESA VERDE, to begin at Bath Iron Works in July 2001.

The LPD 17 Amphibious Transport Dock Ships are designed to be 208.4 meters (684 feet) long and 31.9 meters (105 feet) wide and will replace the functions of the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113, and LDT 1179 Classes of Amphibious ships. The ship's mission is to embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force in an assault by helicopters, landing craft, and amphibious vehicles to conduct an amphibious warfare mission.

The design, which is captured and managed in a three-dimensional product model, is forecasted to return large operational dividends. Designers and operators have the ability to view an electronic model of the ship before the first piece of steel is cut. This allows improvements and changes to be incorporated into the design at an earlier stage of the program while minimizing the cost of rework. It has also allowed sailors and marines, the ultimate customers of LPD 17, to participate and have an impact on the ship design by specifying designs that add to fighting capabilities and operations.

Northrop Grumman Avondale, located in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., and Gulfport, Miss., is part of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems (NGSS), headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss. NGSS also includes Ingalls Shipbuilding and Ship Systems Full Service Center in Pascagoula.

NGSS, which currently employs more than 17,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types. NGSS has a firm business backlog exceeding $5.6 billion, in a variety of naval and commercial shipbuilding programs.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion, global aerospace and defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

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