WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) stated today that its KC-30 Tanker was carefully designed to meet or exceed all KC-X Tanker Replacement Program Key Performance Parameters, or KPPs, designated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). KPPs in nine key areas were reviewed and approved by the U.S. Defense Department's Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). The JROC is chaired by the Vice Chairman of the JCS, with representatives from all Combatant Commanders, all the Service Departments, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This process ensures all new major weapons systems meet the requirements and concept of operations planned for joint and coalition warfighters.

For the KC-X, the JROC approved fifty-nine KPPs in nine focus areas. They included key requirements in air refueling, fuel offload and range, receiver air refueling, multipoint drogues, airlift, force protection, survivability, and net-ready capabilities. These areas were selected to ensure the new Tanker can perform with their new concepts for future warfighting. The Combatant Commanders have publicly stated that the new KC-X will be a "Game Changer," used in many ways far different from the way Tankers have been used in the past and different from how they are being used today in Iraq. The warfighters expect both KC-X competitor aircraft to be ready for multi-role, "dual use" employment as a next generation refueling tanker and an airlifter.

Unlike the current aging KC-135 tanker fleet fielded in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the new tanker fleet will be able to refuel U.S. Air Force and U.S.Navy/Marine Corps aircraft. The new tanker will also be able to refuel other tankers, extending its range, endurance, and persistence. This enables tankers to "keep their fuel forward" by passing it on to other tankers in the area. The new tankers will also possess survivability equipment enabling them to penetrate deeper into combat areas. This permits tankers to move further forward into the fight and protects them when landing in combat zones. This feature will also allow them to take advantage of their greater fuel and airlift capacities, something today's tankers cannot do.

"The Air Force stated on page one of the KC-X solicitation that this was to be a Capabilities Based acquisition," said Randy Belote, Northrop Grumman Vice President of Corporate & International Communications. "The KC-30 is far superior to its competitor in every area of capability and meets or exceeds the key requirements established for future warfighters by today's Combatant Commanders. The Combatant Commanders and the Air Force have made it clear that they want a new and versatile Tanker capable of performing its mission in new ways, not an old Tanker employing yesterday's methods."

Northrop Grumman conducted extensive trade analyses to ensure it provided the Air Force with the exacting capabilities requested in the KC-X System Requirements Documentation. Beginning with the eight primary refueling missions, Northrop Grumman performed systems engineering analysis of all requirements using a functional definition process that bounded system and subsystem designs within schedule and Cost as an Independent Variable constraint. It also applied this process to the secondary missions including airlift and aero medical evacuation. The end result was a baseline design that meets mission requirements, ensures a high probability of success, and delivers within cost and schedule constraints.

The KC-30 Tanker aircraft will be assembled in Mobile, Ala., and the KC-30 team will employ 25,000 American workers at 230 U.S. companies. It will be built by a world-class industrial team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes EADS North America, General Electric Aviation and Sargent Fletcher.

About the KC-30: Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000 more pounds of fuel than a KC-135 or KC-767AT, providing a significant boost to the U.S. Air Force's global reach. The KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition aircraft, and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move passengers, cargo and medical evacuation patients. The KC-30 incorporates defense systems, precision fly-by-wire technology, and the ability to integrate a militarized communications suite and a global support network.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 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:  Tim Paynter
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (321) 961-1101