ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Jan. 6, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Systems sector has successfully modified a LITENING Extended Range (ER) targeting and navigation pod to enable a data link between a U.S. Marine AV-8B aircraft and a ground station for a Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Modifications to the LITENING ER involved mounting a government-furnished equipment (GFE) data/video link transmitter compatible with the Pioneer UAV system in the pod, along with a commercial off-the-shelf transmit antenna. Operational evaluation flight missions of the AV-8B aircraft equipped with the modified LITENING pod were then conducted at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., where cockpit imagery from the pod was successfully relayed to a Pioneer ground station via the GFE transmitter. The modification took less than one month to complete and had no adverse effects on the normal functioning of the pod.

"Northrop Grumman is very proud of the government-industry teamwork that made this flight demonstration such a success," said Michael Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance Programs at Northrop Grummans Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows. "Our team effectively demonstrated how targeting imagery can be relayed to decision makers in real time. Fielding such a capability will greatly increase the situational awareness of our combat forces."

LITENING ER is a self-contained, multisensor laser target designating and navigation system that enables fighter pilots to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING ER features include a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared camera; charge-coupled device television; laser spot tracker/range finder; infrared marker; and a laser designator. In addition to being fielded on Marine Corps' AV-8Bs, LITENING pods are now in use on U.S. Air National Guard (ANG) and the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) F-16s and are operational with the Italian and Spanish navies.

Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division is a component of the company's Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronics and systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, air traffic control systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems, and government systems.

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  CONTACT:  Katie Lamb
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (847) 259-9600, ext. 3542