BALTIMORE, May 27, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun rooftop integration range-testing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's fire control radar, which features an active electronically scanned array (AESA) that enables near-simultaneous performance of multiple radar functions.

The AN/APG-81 AESA radar, which the company has developed under contract with Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), represents a significant advance in capability. Because the radar's beam is moved electronically, it can find targets much more quickly than older radars that move the antenna mechanically. The lack of moving parts greatly improves reliability as well.

"This milestone of rooftop radar testing represents a critical step forward in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program," said Air Force Major General Jack Hudson, the F-35 joint program director, who participated in a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new rooftop lab at the company's Electronic Systems sector facility. "Northrop Grumman has performed like a true team player in executing the development of the radar and other avionics in concert with Lockheed Martin."

Also in attendance at the dedication was Navy Rear Adm. Steve Enewold, who will succeed Maj. Gen. Hudson as program director, according to the teaming agreement between the two services.

Bob DuBeau, vice president of Combat Avionics at Northrop Grumman, added, "This event signifies the culmination of two and a half years of development work to get the first radar designed, built, and assembled. Now begins the process of integrating the software that provides the radar with its impressive suite of multiple modes."

The radar system integration work in the rooftop lab will require approximately six to eight months to complete the initial set of modes. This effort will include modeling and simulation, software development, and data reduction. Early in 2005, the radar will begin developmental flight-testing on board Northrop Grumman's BAC 1-11 flying testbed aircraft.

The BAC 1-11 tests will reduce radar integration risk by exercising both air and surface modes in an in-flight environment prior to delivery of the first radar to Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems Integration Lab (MSIL), which is scheduled for late 2005. Testing at the MSIL will integrate the radar with the rest of the mission systems suite using ground assets and flight tests on board the Lockheed Martin Cooperative Airborne Testbed.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft, including the AV-8B Harrier, A-10, F-16, F/A-18, and the United Kingdom's Harrier GR.7 and Sea Harrier. Three variants derived from a common design will ensure that the F-35 meets the performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, as well as allied defense forces worldwide, while also meeting strict affordability requirements.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 in collaboration with its principal partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. In addition to providing the AESA radar, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is teamed with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control to develop the electro-optical distributed aperture system, which provides the pilot with a unique protective sphere of situational awareness, and the electro-optical targeting system.

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems and sensors, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communication systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services.

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., a business area of Lockheed Martin, is a leader in the design, development, systems integration, production, and support of advanced military aircraft and related technologies. Its customers include the military services of the United States and allied countries throughout the world. Products include the F-16, F/A-22, F-35 JSF, F-117, T-50, C-5, C-27J, C-130, C-130J, P-3, S-3, and U-2 aircraft.

Members of the news media may receive our releases via e-mail by registering at:

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: . Information specific to the Mission Systems sector is available at:

  CONTACT:  Doug Cantwell
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (410) 765-9332