LINTHICUM, Md., May 1, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a $46.1 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the Optical RF Communications Adjunct (ORCA) project, an all-weather, high connectivity, jam resistant, high bandwidth network.

"This program is extremely important for the warfighter. ORCA will develop and demonstrate a critical component needed to ensure all of our mobile forces access to reliable, affordable, and secure high capacity network connectivity," said Chuck Brinkman, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Advanced Concepts and Technologies Division.

ORCA will address the U.S. military's increasing requirements for transmitting and receiving voice, image, video and other critical data simultaneously among dismounted and maneuvering forces, airborne assets, and upper command echelons. This large amount of tactical data is straining the capacity of ground and satellite communications systems currently in use.

Under the one-year cost plus fixed fee contract, the company will develop and demonstrate a prototype tactical network that uses both free space optical (FSO) and radio frequency (RF) links. The company will also provide a "leave behind" capability for the warfighter.

The DARPA project is being led by the company's Electronic Systems sector under the contract administration of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Its team members include L3 Communications (Communications Systems - West Division), Salt Lake City; AOptix Technologies, Campbell, Ca.; and Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a 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:  Alleace Gibbs
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (410) 765-1294