AVONDALE, La., June 6, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Avondale Industries, a Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) company, and its LPD 17 Alliance team today received the prestigious Value Engineering (VE) Award from the Department of Defense for developing 34 proposals that will improve fleet readiness and quality of life.

The LPD 17 team has already seen a substantial decrease in rework in the early stages of production. During the 40-year life cycle of the ship class, total ownership cost savings are an estimated $4.3 billion.

The award, presented at a Pentagon ceremony by David Oliver, deputy undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, recognizes significant achievements in reducing costs through systematic engineering analyses.

This process leads to actions or recommendations to reduce production or operation costs of systems, equipment, facilities, services and supplies without sacrificing performance or quality. The award includes seven categories: program management; individual/team; VE professional; procurement/contract administration; field command; installation, and contractor.

The LPD 17 team includes the U.S. Navy LPD 17 Program Office, team leader Northrop Grumman's Avondale Industries, General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works, the Intergraph Corporation and the Raytheon Company. This team is a cross-functional government/contractor partnership assembled to design, build and maintain a powerful amphibious assault platform while reducing the Navy's total cost of ownership.

"I believe this recognition is a direct result of all the hard work and dedication put in by our entire LPD 17 team, and is a reflection of the many significant accomplishments and milestones it has achieved. We are all very proud and encouraged by this award," said Tom Kitchen, Avondale's president.

Jerry Myers, Avondale's vice president, LPD 17 Program, accepted the award along with other Alliance team leaders. According to Mr. Myers, the value engineering savings the team has achieved is largely a result of the new approach to shipbuilding that Team 17 has pioneered.

"The Integrated Product Data Environment (IPDE) we developed enables us to develop a 3-D ship model, conduct virtual walkthroughs and check for interference prior to construction," Mr. Myers noted. "Having this capability obviously reduces the amount of rework and related costs. We anticipate additional related savings as a result of the IPDE, both during the construction process and throughout the life cycle of the ships."

LPD 17 team recipients of the VE award included Avondale's Myers; Capt. William Luebke, USN, program manager for the Government/Navy team; Sean Killoy, Bath Iron Works' LPD 17 deputy program manager; David Gray, Raytheon's LPD 17 program manager; and Andy Wilkerson, Intergraph's LPD 17 representative.

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