EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Aug. 3, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) will perform the first flight demonstration of a sonic boom mitigated by airframe shaping as part of a cooperative industry and government effort under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Quiet Supersonic Platform (QSP) program.

The flight test will use a Northrop Grumman F-5E aircraft with a modified forward fuselage to produce a specially shaped sonic boom that is expected to be noticeably quieter than a conventional sonic boom produced minutes earlier by an unmodified F-5E. This "back-to-back" test approach is intended to highlight the effect that aircraft shaping can have on the mitigation of sonic booms.

The flight demonstration work, expected to be completed by September 2002, will involve all government and industry QSP participants because it is considered a key overall program enabler and risk-reducer.

DARPA's QSP program is designed to lay the foundation for efficient and capable long-range supersonic cruise aircraft that will operate with a less intense sonic boom and reduced takeoff and landing noise. The QSP program is focused on the validation of multiple breakthrough technologies to enable such an aircraft. DARPA awarded multiple initial contracts last year to industry, government laboratories and universities.

Northrop Grumman will perform the F-5E shaped sonic boom demonstration under a cooperative agreement with DARPA valued at approximately $3 million. The award complements Northrop Grumman's existing QSP contract of $2.5 million for system integration studies and technology development that was awarded in October 2000.

The company's QSP program is based at Northrop Grumman ISS's Air Combat Systems business area in El Segundo.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, based in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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         Jim Hart
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