MELBOURNE, Fla., Feb. 17, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- U.S. Air Force aircraft could expand their primary roles to include network servers in the sky under some new concepts being explored by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Evergreen International Aviation.

Air Force tankers, airlift and transport aircraft currently provide an ever-present and persistent platform that could be equipped with data storage, processors and disseminators to create an airborne network server. These "brilliant aircraft" could receive critical battlefield information from other battlefield sensors, and then distribute it on demand to tactical war fighters.

"The Air Force's large-aircraft requirement provides an opportunity to equip a segment of the fleet with a 'plug-and-play' equipment module that could bring the cellular approach to the battlefield," said Dale Burton, vice president for technology and chief technology officer for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "As we continue to explore various concepts for the Global Information Grid, we find ideas in the commercial world that could be made mobile and taken to the front lines. In essence, these 'brilliant aircraft' would be delivering knowledge to power freedom."

Northrop Grumman and Evergreen are considering conducting a "brilliant aircraft" demonstration later this year using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets such as Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) and a surrogate Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle working in conjunction with an Evergreen wide-body aircraft. For the demonstration, each aircraft or representative surrogate aircraft would be equipped with a suite of communications equipment that would allow it to share data and provide network services.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, the prime contractor for the E-10A aircraft weapon system integration and the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP), is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems for government and civil customers worldwide. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

  CONTACT:  Jim Stratford
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (321) 726-7526