ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., July 14, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today announced the delivery of the first of its next generation video data-link product to the U.S. Marine Corps for use in their LITENING Advanced Targeting (AT) and LITENING NEXT GENERATION (G4) pods.

Under a contract administered through the U.S. Air Force's Precision Attack Targeting Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division will ultimately deliver over 240 sets of advanced Plug and Play II(tm) data-links to support the U.S. Marine Corps as well as Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard, Italian and Spanish navies, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Northrop Grumman's LITENING AT targeting pod is a self-contained, multi-sensor laser target-designating and navigation system that enables operators to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING AT features advanced image processing for target identification and coordinate generation; a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared sensor; charge-coupled device television sensors; a laser spot tracker; an infrared laser marker; an infrared laser designator/range finder; and a plug-and-play bay configured to accept a wide variety of data-links and recorders.

This advanced Plug and Play II data-link capability offers warfighters increased range, state-of-the-art digital data recording and an option to incorporate secure, two-way communications over ultra-high frequency (UHF) radios without the need for aircraft modifications.

"LITENING AT's new advanced Plug and Play II data-link is another example of how our open-architecture design enables us to respond rapidly and affordably to our customers' needs," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "With the Plug and Play II, warfighters have many options to customize their data-link, including incorporation of advanced data recording for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, increased on-board computing to host user-defined networking applications, and the ability to enable secure communication of data and imagery through the addition of user-selected UHF radios. All of these capabilities and options enable our users to tailor the configuration of their data-link to their mission."

Deliveries of the advanced data-links are expected to occur on an accelerated schedule over the next 18 months.

LITENING's Plug and Play I, introduced in 2003, was the first data-link to be incorporated in a third generation targeting pod. Since then, data-links have not only proved their usefulness on the battlefield, they have become essential to the conduct of operations in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Later this year, several LITENING AT pods equipped with the new advanced data-links will be used to demonstrate a custom airborne networking application in support of the Marine Corps. This program will integrate a Communications Network Radio System unit into the Plug and Play II data-link. Use of this advanced, network-based UHF radio will provide secure air-to-air and air-to-ground exchange of imagery and data, both of which will also be catalogued and stored in the data-link's on-board computer and mass solid state storage system.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT: Jack Martin, Jr.
         Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
         (410) 765-4441