BETHPAGE, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a contract to continue development of its Structural Integrity Prognosis System (SIPS) for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The $17.8 million contract is a two-year follow-on to the original two-year, $14.2 million effort awarded to Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.

The company's Advanced Capabilities Development team in Bethpage is developing SIPS. By applying newly developed sensor systems, analytical models of how metals begin to fail at the microstructural level and advanced reasoning methodologies, the team designed a system that can predict when a wing, for example, will begin to develop cracks.

"The potential benefits from SIPS are huge," said Joseph Garone, director of advanced capabilities development for Northrop Grumman. "Just imagine that you can anticipate major structural failures in an aircraft or other structure before they happen. Or that you can schedule maintenance according to the usage and stresses imposed on an aircraft, instead of at fixed intervals, which would save operators significant amounts of money and ensure greater availability of aircraft.

"DARPA's goal is to develop a system that will give military commanders quantitative performance predictions for every piece of equipment, so they can operate each combat system to the limit of its capability," Garone said.

This award follows a successful demonstration held in Bethpage last August where SIPS delivered real-time predictions of the eventual outcome of live fatigue tests of laboratory specimens representative of EA-6B Prowler aircraft structural components.

The Advanced Capabilities Development team and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) are participating in a full-scale fatigue test of SIPS methodology on a retired EA-6B outer wing panel at Patuxent River, Md. The team is also evaluating selected SIPS sensors on a separate fatigue test being run by the Air Force on a retired A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" fuselage at the Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems facility in El Segundo, Calif. They have also successfully evaluated SIPS' ability to detect cracks in the rotating components of an H-60 helicopter gearbox, also at NAVAIR in Patuxent River.

Led by Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, the SIPS team comprises: Alcoa Technical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Impact Technologies, Rochester, N.Y.; JENTEK Sensors Inc., Waltham, Mass.; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.; Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss.; Oceana Sensors, Virginia Beach, Va.; Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Matech, Los Angeles; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.; Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn.; and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, produce and support fully missionized integrated systems and subsystems. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services in support of chosen segments within the broad market areas of battlespace awareness, command and control systems and integrated combat systems.