BALTIMORE, Jan. 17, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Systems sector has been awarded a $34 million contract from the U.S. Navy's Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) to adapt the missile tubes of SSBN (fleet ballistic missile submarine) submarines from launching nuclear ballistic missiles to conventional cruise missiles.

The contract, which began in January 2003 and will continue through December 2004, covers systems development and demonstration of the Multiple All Up Round Canister (MAC). The reconfigured submarine will be known as the SSGN (guided missile submarine).

This contract for detailed design and prototype testing includes options for low-rate initial production leading up to full-rate initial production of up to four ship sets. If exercised, these options will bring the total cumulative value of this contract to more than $150 million.

"Northrop Grumman has been the primary supplier of underwater launch equipment to SSP since the inception of the ballistic missile submarine program in the 1950s," said Jim Hupton, vice president of Northrop Grumman Marine Systems. "Our extensive experience and proven track record in the underwater launch market is strengthened by teaming with Electric Boat, the original submarine builder and platform conversion contractor for the SSGN program."

Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman's Marine Systems business unit in Sunnyvale, Calif., and at teammate General Dynamics' Electric Boat facility in Groton, Conn.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has overall responsibility for the SSGN conversion and has assigned responsibility for the attack weapons system (AWS) to SSP.

The MAC is a subsystem of the AWS that will replace the existing Trident ballistic missile launch tubes and provide for the storage and launch of up to seven TOMAHAWK ( missiles from each of the 22 submarine missile tubes. Each SSBN submarine will thus be able to accommodate as many as 154 precision-guided, conventional land-attack Tomahawk weapons.

Northrop Grumman recently completed the DEMVAL phase of the program, successfully testing, designing and fabricating test equipment and component risk reduction testing. This phase culminated in a successful full-scale Tomahawk test launch from an SSBN submarine using a prototype MAC in January 2003.

In addition to the SSGN mission of land attack, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is also supporting SSGN's other operational mission, support of Special Operations Forces (SOF) campaigns and missions. Northrop Grumman's Oceanic and Naval Systems business unit designs and builds the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS), a mini-submarine intended to clandestinely carry SOF troops and their combat gear to and from hostile shores. It is planned that each of the four SSGNs will be modified to allow two ASDS vehicles to dock, enabling SOF deployment to littoral theaters worldwide.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems, and automation and information systems.

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  CONTACT:  Debbi McCallam
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
         (410) 765-1521