LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., July 19, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- A system developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is providing critical voice communications and real-time video surveillance and imagery to the U.S. Marine Corps and Los Angeles public safety agencies participating in a disaster-response exercise underway at Los Alamitos.

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node system (BACN, pronounced "bacon") is a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server that allows real-time information exchanges among many different, distant military and commercial communications systems.

The Marine Aircraft Group 46 from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, and the Los Angeles city and county police, sheriff and fire departments have joined forces to simulate and test how they would jointly respond to an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in San Diego.

"The ability of disparate military, federal and local civic agencies to communicate has often been the weakest link in disaster response," said Mike Twyman, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' communication and information systems business unit. "BACN has demonstrated the capability to provide, in operational conditions, fully secured critical imagery and information directly to personnel in airborne and ground units and command centers when and where they need it."

During the Joint Operations Field Training Exercise, the BACN payload is carried on NASA's WB-57 high-altitude aircraft, providing a high-speed, Internet protocol (IP)-based airborne network infrastructure for seamless movement of imagery, video, voice and digital messages between disparate tactical data and IP networks.

BACN also provided voice relay and bridging among different tactical and cellular voice systems. This cell phone-to-radio bridging allows, for example, police and fire units using cell phones to talk with Marine Corps personnel in aircraft and helicopters and ground units using military radios.

BACN is being developed by Northrop Grumman for the Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; the Air Force Aerospace Command and Control, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center at Langley Air Force Base, Va.; and the Joint Forces Command, headquartered in Norfolk, Va.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

Note to producers and editors: Members of the media are invited to attend a news conference and view exercise scenarios on July 20 at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Media should arrive between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. Contact GySgt. Matthew Olivolo, USMC, at (714) 801-5213 for details and directions.

  CONTACT:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-7046

          Tom Henson
          Northrop Grumman Corporation
          (310) 201-3458 (office)
          (310) 625-8611 (cell)