FAIRLAKES, Va., and HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Feb. 2, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The Kinetic Energy Interceptor program, under development by prime contractor Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), is on schedule to meet the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) objective of a 2008 booster flight, the company said today. The program successfully achieved all key proof-of-concept milestones in 2006 and is readying the system for a first flight test of this fast, new booster in 2008.

As conceived by the MDA, KEI will be a mobile missile-defense system with the unique capability to destroy a hostile missile during its boost, ascent or midcourse phase of flight. With mobility and flexibility not previously available, KEI will provide our nation with a robust regional, theater, and homeland defense system, capable of destroying medium and long-range ballistic missiles in their most vulnerable early battlespace.

"We're batting a thousand! The robust KEI testing program continues on a strong path forward, proceeding on schedule and on cost," said Craig Staresinich, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman KEI program. "Our relentless focus on mission assurance is paying dividends. We've met every development milestone to date and have repeatedly demonstrated that the KEI concept and designs are not only viable, but also work. The entire KEI program team looks forward to demonstrating this extremely fast, mobile and flexible system during the initial booster flight in 2008."

In the past two years, the program has met a number of critical proof-of-concept milestones to mitigate risk for both the hardware and software. These include:

  1. Successful completion of the Stage 1 and Stage 2 static-motor
     firings in 2006
  2. Four successful demonstrations - ahead of schedule - of
     the system's fire control capability in 2006 and 2005,
     proving that KEI can meet the short timelines necessary to
     hit a missile in the early minutes after launch
  3. Several successful high-speed wind tunnel tests
 

In 2007, the Northrop Grumman KEI team is scheduled to complete several Stage 1 and Stage 2 motor firings and stage separation tests.

The Northrop Grumman KEI team is nationwide, with major operations in Fair Lakes, Va., and Huntsville, Ala. Principal teammates include Raytheon, Tucson, Ariz., ATK, Promontory, Utah; Orbital, Phoenix, Ariz.; Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif.; and Ball Aerospace, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 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:  Marynoele Benson
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345.6734
          marynoele.benson@ngc.com