BALTIMORE, Nov. 17, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun initial flight testing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter's Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (EO DAS) sensors, which will surround the aircraft with a unique protective sphere of situational awareness.

On Nov. 11, Northrop Grumman's BAC 1-11 avionics testbed aircraft flew with three EO DAS sensors installed. During the flight, all three sensors functioned simultaneously to provide a seamless, combined wide field of view. Northrop Grumman conducted the flight tests in the local airspace around the company's Electronic Systems sector headquarters, located near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall airport.

Designated the AN/AAQ-37, and comprising six electro-optical sensors, the full EO DAS will enhance the F-35's survivability and operational effectiveness by warning the pilot of incoming aircraft and missile threats, providing day/night vision and supporting the navigation function of the F-35's forward-looking infrared sensor.

"It is always exciting to complete the first units of a new sensor, such as EO DAS, and have them perform so well in the initial flight testing," said Joe Ensor, vice president of Combat Avionics Systems at Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. "The imagery from these initial sensors is outstanding."

The first complete F-35 EO DAS suite is scheduled to be delivered to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, in April 2006, where it will be installed into the JSF Mission Systems Integration Lab and tested with other F-35 mission avionics systems.

"This first flight is part of our effort to accelerate the validation of EO DAS performance during the flight test program, and begin systems integration ahead of schedule," Ensor said.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. The F-35 is a next-generation, supersonic, multi-role, stealth fighter, designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft. Three variants derived from a common design will ensure the F-35 meets the performance needs of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and allied defense forces worldwide, while staying within strict affordability targets.

In addition to developing the EO DAS, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is supplying the F-35's AN/APG-81 advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar. The AESA radar is designed to enable the pilot to effectively engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing outstanding situational awareness.

Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and demonstration of the F-35. Responsibilities range from integrating a major section of the aircraft's structure to producing key avionics and communications subsystems, to developing mission-planning software and training systems.

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 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  CONTACT:  Marc Abshire
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (410) 765-3397