HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 31, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully demonstrated several new air and missile defense battle management tools last month during a 10-day U.S. Army exercise focusing on net-centric upgrades to the Patriot missile communications system.

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Capabilities, Manager-Lower Tier conducted the Patriot communications enhancement technology demonstration exercise Sept. 17-28 to prepare Patriot to be part of the next-generation Army integrated battle command system. Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector participated in the exercise, staged between Army command center elements at White Sands Missile Range, N. M., and Ft. Bliss, Texas. Fort Bliss is charged with maintaining several U.S. Patriot Missile Batteries and operator training.

During the exercise, Northrop Grumman engineers used tactical radios, in addition to satellite communications, as the primary means of communicating between different echelons of the air and missile defense battle command structure. The company successfully demonstrated that advanced battle command capabilities such as real-time collaborative planning could be achieved with available tactical radios.

Northrop Grumman also demonstrated its Air and Missile Defense Planning and Control System (AMDPCS), which served as the Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC). The Battalion TOC featured the seamless integration of multiple command and control systems and demonstrated versatile network scalability during the conduct of the exercise. AMDPCS used flexible, modular, Army-common components that are necessary for a deployable command center.

Another Northrop Grumman technology used in the exercise was the Air and Missile Defense Workstation (AMDWS). AMDWS showcased the benefits of collaborative planning and situational awareness over tactical networks - even as communications pathways were re-routed from higher bandwidth terrestrial radios to more constraining satellite communications - typical in a tactical environment. In these scenarios, AMDWS was able to maintain the integrity of this vital information.

"Our systems bring modularity and net-centricity to the fight and enable a truly integrated air and missile defense environment, bringing current stove-piped systems into a systems-of-systems network that will greatly improve effectiveness in the battles of tomorrow," said Frank Moore, vice president and general manager of Missile Defense Division for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

The AMDPCS and AMDWS enhancements were developed and tested in the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) Proto-lab, established by Northrop Grumman in 2006, as an open architecture integration laboratory in Huntsville, Ala.

Northrop Grumman is bidding as prime contractor for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System procurement, which is being managed by the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Program Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space in Huntsville, Ala. Applied Data Trends, a principal teammate, provided other key technologies and services to the demonstration.

IBCS is an Army transformational program that will establish a network-centric systems-of-systems solution for integrating sensors, shooters, and battle management command, control, communications and intelligence systems (BMC3I) for Army air and missile defense. The system will allow warfighters to utilize expanded sensor and weapon system combinations via an integrated fire control network. IBCS is the first step towards an integrated air and missile defense capability for the U.S. Army and a joint capability for the nation.

"Integrating these stovepiped systems will provide major benefits in performance and operational flexibility," said Gary Abercrombie, vice president of Missile Defense Programs for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. "The whole idea is for these existing systems to be able to work effectively in an integrated environment. Exchanging critical, life-saving data across not only the Army, but also all the services will be vital to the success of any future engagement."

Further supporting the Army in its pursuit of an integrated battle command system, Northrop Grumman established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command / U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command to extend and improve the existing integrated air and missile defense command system capabilities. The CRADA spans four years for cooperative technology insertions for battle command and related fields such as modeling and simulation.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion 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:  Marynoele R. Benson
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345.6734
          Marynoele.benson@ngc.com