WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) stated today that a U.S. Air Force Integrated Fleet Air Refueling Assessment (IFARA) evaluation model indicates that the KC-30 Tanker proposed to the U.S. Air Force in the KC-X Tanker Replacement Program is over 20 percent more capable than its competitor, the KC-767 Advanced Tanker (AT).

"To ensure a fair and transparent proposal evaluation process, the Air Force added a fifth evaluation criteria, called IFARA, to measure the overall refueling capability of the tankers competing in the KC-X Program," said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman vice president and general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program. "Air Force methodology for calculating IFARA clearly shows the KC-30 is superior to the less capable KC-767AT. Contrary to Boeing's computations and assertions, these are not formulas devised by Northrop Grumman to favor Northrop Grumman in this competition but rather are capabilities-based evaluation criteria established by the Air Force to help it select the best platform for the warfighter. This was done across the full spectrum of future tanker employment using Air Force and TRANSCOM leadership's new CONOPS for keeping fuel forward."

The Air Force has defined IFARA as a complex model that evaluates a tanker's capability to meet its requirements for several future warfighting scenarios. The model looks at how tankers will be employed in these future scenarios, not how they were used in the past. The Air Force provided competitors with these classified scenarios and supporting data, including force laydowns and refueling requirements. They also provided a model to use in the analysis. The results include consideration of a wide variety of factors including pavement loading, parking footprint, tanker fuel capacity, takeoff performance and fuel consumption; and are evaluated against scenario constraints such as runway strength, ramp strength, ramp parking available, aerial refueling track location, takeoff conditions and receiver mix. Tankers refueling tankers and enhanced survivability systems, both new capabilities the KC-135 does not possess, are also included.

Using 1.0 as the baseline score based upon the capability of the KC-135 tanker that is being replaced, the IFARA score for the KC-30 is 1.62 or higher, and the KC-767AT is rated at 1.35.

Competitors were also given the opportunity to provide additional insights for source selection evaluation using their own separate analytical processes. Northrop Grumman used its internally developed Tanker Analysis Tool (TAT) to provide these insights in its proposal, covered in the 100 pages of authorized Factor 5 narrative. TAT's comprehensive methodology very closely represents actual operational employment concepts of operation for refueling operations, including the use of combat parking rules and real-time refueling orbit augmentation and transfer in-flight, limitations of the USAF model used for source selection. The result is a far more accurate representation of actual relative capabilities for the KC-30, the KC-135, and the KC-767.

About the KC-30: 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.

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:  Randy Belote
          Northrop Grumman Corporation
          (703) 875-8525