MELBOURNE, Fla., June 16, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Navy has announced that Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) airborne-laser mine-detection system has reached Milestone C - signifying the end of system development and demonstration - and is now poised to enter its production phase.

The airborne-laser mine-detection system uses light-detection and ranging technology to detect, classify and localize floating and near-surface moored sea mines so that ships can maneuver through clear sea lanes. Contained in external equipment pods mounted on a Navy MH-60S helicopter, the mine-detection system also provides accurate mine-location information for follow-on neutralization by other systems such as Northrop Grumman's rapid airborne mine-clearance system.

The mine-detection system will support the mine-warfare mission module for the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship to provide airborne mine defense to the battle force. The program is managed out of PMS 495, Naval Sea Systems Command, under the leadership of the Program Executive Office, Littoral and Mine Warfare.

"This is an important milestone as it brings an extraordinary mine-detection capability to the fleet," said Alan Doshier, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems sector vice president for the Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems business unit. "It represents a capability that does not exist in the current mine-countermeasures inventory."

"The airborne-laser mine-detection system is one of the five organic airborne mine-countermeasure systems being procured by the Navy," said Doshier, "and one of the first to transition to low-rate initial production."

"The airborne-laser mine-detection system is unencumbered by the inherent limitations of towing bulky gear in the water, and can therefore attain high area-search rates and image the entire near-surface volume without stopping to recover equipment," said Gary Humes, Navy Littoral Mine Warfare program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command.

The mine-detection system is one of five airborne mine-countermeasures systems planned for use on the MH-60S helicopter platform. It also has been qualified for mounting on other MH-60 series aircraft, which will ensure timely fielding of this capability.

Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems is a business unit of Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Integrated Systems designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems for government and civil customers worldwide. It 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.

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          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
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