EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 16, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has delivered the center/aft fuselage section for the first production-configured development model of the EA 18G Growler, the U.S. Navy's next-generation electronic attack aircraft.

The fuselage shipset, measuring nearly 30 feet long and 18 feet high at the tip of its twin vertical tails, was completed in April on the company's F/A-18 assembly line in El Segundo. Northrop Grumman operates the only two remaining combat aircraft production lines in Southern California.

The EA-18G is a derivative of the combat-proven F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Navy's frontline carrier-based strike fighter. Northrop Grumman has been the principal subcontractor to The Boeing Company on all models of the F/A-18 for nearly 30 years. Northrop Grumman previously delivered shipsets for two Growler flight test aircraft, and the latest delivery is the first of four under the system development and demonstration phase of the program.

The F/A-18 program accounts for more than 10,000 jobs in California at more than 700 supplier companies. Northrop Grumman has produced nearly 1,800 shipsets for all models of the F/A 18 since the program began in 1976.

The EA-18G is scheduled to begin replacing the venerable EA-6B Prowler, the nation's only manned electronic attack aircraft, by the end of the decade. Like the Northrop Grumman-built Prowler, the Growler will have a Northrop Grumman airborne electronic attack system to perform surveillance and to electronically attack enemy radars, communications nets and other threats vulnerable to electronic destruction, disruption or manipulation.

The Growler's electronic attack suite is based on the advanced Improved Capability (ICAP) III system developed by Northrop Grumman for the EA-6B. The EA-18G's effectiveness will be enhanced by the advanced sensors and weaponry capabilities of the F/A-18E/F.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector produces and integrates the center/aft fuselage and all associated subsystems for the F/A-18 and EA-18G. Each fuselage "shipset" is delivered from El Segundo to Boeing's production facility in St. Louis, Mo. Northrop Grumman is also the EA-18G airborne electronic attack system integrator and performs this work in Bethpage, N.Y., under a separate contract with Boeing.

Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the Hornet industry team, which divides EA-18G production across Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon facilities. The system development and demonstration phase of the EA-18G program will conclude with an initial operational capability (IOC) in 2009. Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the U.S. Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G.

The EA-18G will begin replacing the Prowler gradually after IOC. The Navy's current plan is to buy 84 EA-18Gs. The Prowler is expected to remain in service until 2015.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Jim Hart
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (310) 331-3616
          james.f.hart@ngc.com