SAN DIEGO, Jan. 3, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance system, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), recently passed the 5,000 combat flight-hours mark while on a mission supporting the global war on terrorism.

Deployed almost immediately following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles have been flying nearly continuous combat missions since 2001. The system has now flown 233 missions, 157 of them by a single Global Hawk. Collectively, the family of Global Hawk aircraft has accumulated more than 8,000 total flight hours.

"The high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned reconnaissance system has performed exceptionally well in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, providing image intelligence for hundreds of time-sensitive targets," said George Guerra, director of Northrop Grumman's Air Force Global Hawk program. "It not only flies preprogrammed missions, but can also be re-tasked in just minutes to locate new targets. Global Hawk proved early-on its unique value, reliability and flexibility as an intelligence asset."

Global Hawk flies autonomously at an altitude of more than 60,000 feet, above inclement weather and prevailing winds, for more than 35 hours at a time. During a single mission, it can provide detailed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in near-real time over 40,000 square miles -- approximately the size of Illinois.

Northrop Grumman leads a Global Hawk industry team that comprises U.S. and international companies. The unmanned system's primary program elements are provided by team members as follows:

  -- Integrated sensor suite, Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems, El 
    Segundo, Calif.
 -- Ground station, Raytheon Intelligence & Information Systems, 
    Falls Church, Va.
 -- Engine, Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis
 -- Communication system, L-3 Communications, West, Salt Lake City
 -- Wing, Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas
 -- V-Tail assembly and other composite structures, Aurora Flight 
    Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

  CONTACT:  Revelle Anderson
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (858) 618-4405 office
          (858) 205-7694 cellular