SAN DIEGO, April 20, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance system is expected to set an aviation record on Sunday, April 22, when it crosses the Pacific Ocean, flying nonstop from Edwards AFB, Calif., to Edinburg Air Base in Australia. Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) is the prime contractor for Global Hawk.

According to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, this flight would be the first time that an unmanned, powered aircraft will have crossed the world's largest ocean. The flight will last nearly 24 hours.

Global Hawk is deploying to Australia to continue advanced flight testing and to participate in a number of joint American and Australian military demonstrations during the next six weeks, including the annual Tandem Thrust exercise.

Northrop Grumman was recently awarded a $6 million cost-plus/fixed-fee contract from the U.S. Air Force for performance of demonstration missions by the Global Hawk as part of this deployment. Work under the contract will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and at locations in Australia.

"We are looking forward to working with the United States and Australian armed services on this unique joint demonstration of the capabilies of the Global Hawk system," said Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman Global Hawk program manager.

The Global Hawk program successfully completed its Milestone II decision in a Defense Acquisition Board review on Feb. 16, 2001. Completion of Milestone II allowed the program to enter the EMD phase.

Under development for the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide military field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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