EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Dec. 6, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has authorized Terma, Lystrup, Denmark and Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), Ankara, Turkey to begin fabricating subassemblies for the first two F-35 Lightning II production aircraft.

The awards, which expand the international membership of Northrop Grumman's F-35 supplier team, represent the first F-35 contracts for Terma and TAI under long-term agreements signed with the company in 2005.

The subassemblies to be produced -- composite components and aircraft access doors -- will be used in the F-35 center fuselage, a major section of the aircraft being produced by Northrop Grumman as a principal and founding member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 global industry team.

"Strong international participation in the F-35 program is critical to ensuring the successful production, delivery and sustainment of the world's most advanced multi-role combat aircraft," said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and F-35 program manager for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "These agreements add significant momentum to our very successful partnerships with Turkey and Denmark for the production of critical F-35 subassemblies."

According to Pamiljans, Terma and TAI will each serve as a second source supplier to Northrop Grumman during F-35 low rate initial production (LRIP). Under the current authorization, they will begin producing aircraft parts required for the initial phase, known as LRIP-1.

In late October, Northrop Grumman officially began LRIP-1 for the F-35 program by starting the fabrication of the first single-piece, all-composite inlet duct for the Air Force's first production F-35 aircraft. That duct is now being produced at Northrop Grumman's composites manufacturing center in El Segundo, Calif.

In February 2007, Northrop Grumman signed a letter of intent with TAI to also make the Turkish company a second source for producing F-35 center fuselages. Under that agreement, TAI will produce a minimum of 400 center fuselages starting in LRIP-2. Northrop Grumman currently produces all F-35 center fuselages at its F-35 assembly facility in Palmdale, Calif.

The F-35 Lightning II is a stealthy, supersonic multi-role fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. It is being produced in three variants -- conventional take-off and landing (CTOL), short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) and a carrier variant (CV) -- to meet the diverse performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy and allied defense forces worldwide. The three variants use a high degree of commonality to meet strict affordability requirements.

Northrop Grumman's roles on the F-35 team include producing the aircraft's center fuselage, key radar and electro-optical subsystems, and the aircraft's communication, navigation and identification avionics. It also provides mission systems and mission-planning software; and develops pilot and maintenance training systems.

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:  Brooks McKinney, APR
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (310) 331-6610
          Mobile: (310) 864-3785 

          Ken Beedle (London)
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          +44 0207 747 1910
          +44 07787 174092