DOMINGUEZ HILLS, Calif., Dec. 9, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- A fifth business within Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Mission Systems sector has achieved the highest possible rating for benchmarking commercial- and defense-industry best practices for management and engineering.

The sector's Battlefield Command and Control and Logistics Automation business areas, part of Mission Systems' Tactical Systems Division, attained a CMMI(r) Level 5 maturity rating against the newest Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI(r)) standard. Fewer than 20 companies worldwide have achieved CMMI(r) Level 5.

The Level 5 rating was achieved in a comprehensive appraisal conducted in November at the company's Dominguez Hills facility, which included sites in California, Alabama and Virginia. The assessment looked at three critical Army programs: Air and Missile Defense Workstation, Battle Command and Sustainment Support System, and Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced.

Earlier this year, the sector's Battlefield Digitization and Communications, Systems Development Operations, Data Systems Operations and Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Fire Control/Communications business areas also achieved CMMI(r) Level 5.

"Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' Battlefield Command and Control and Logistics Automation business areas have very strong processes in place," said Dr. Richard Waina of Comskil, Inc., the independent organization that conducted the appraisal. "They impressed me with their exceptional level of detailed knowledge of processes, both at the organization and project levels. A lot of hard work was evident in the preparation for and support of the appraisal process."

"My team's energy and dedication to excellence has helped us reach this milestone," said Otto Guenther, vice president and general manager, Tactical Systems Division. "Having successfully made the climb to Level 5, we now look forward to sustained operation at that level, the productivity improvements it brings and continuing excellence in services and products we provide to our customers."

Achieving this rating against the CMMI(r) maturity model demonstrates Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' early and broad commitment to CMMI(r) and positions the company as a top-tier contractor within the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The SEI's core purpose is to help others make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities.

The CMMI(r) standard was developed by a coalition of industry, government and the Software Engineering Institute to objectively assess the full range of an organization's software engineering, program management and organizational management capabilities. There are five levels of CMMI(r) maturity, each a layer in the foundation for ongoing process improvement, designated by the numbers one through five with five being the highest. Higher maturity levels signify lower risks to successful program execution.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil government markets. The sector's technology leadership and expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; technical services; and training.

(r) Capability Maturity Model, CMM, and CMMI are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: http://www.northropgrumman.com . Information specific to the Mission Systems sector is available at: http://www.ms.northropgrumman.com .

  CONTACT:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-7046