HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Nov. 27, 2006 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and its partners in government, industry and academia have opened a "one-stop shop" for mechanical engineering innovation and solutions. The Huntsville System & Mechanical Engineering Center of Excellence (HSMECOE) was created to expedite development and delivery of high-technology, platform-based systems -- especially command, control and communications systems -- to the military.

Linked by a collaborative computer network, HSMECOE experts in platform engineering, integration, production and testing will work to reduce design time and cost, facilitate rapid prototyping, and ensure a smooth production transition. The alliance of nationwide members will use common software and hardware engineering tools and have access to a "knowledge database" of technical data packages.

"This center will bring together the best of industry and academia to solve technical issues facing the Army and defense acquisition community, specifically regarding the integration of command, control and communications and other systems into warfighter platforms," said Kelley G. Zelickson, vice president and general manager of the tactical systems business for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector.

Zelickson said these technical issues include weight, space, power, ergonomics, crew and operator protection, technology insertion, cost and schedule.

Lighter, smaller, more powerful platforms are increasingly important as the U.S. Army transitions to a more flexible and rapidly deployable modular force built around brigade combat teams. The primary platforms used today are command centers, which are integrated with processing and tactical information technology capabilities and government-furnished equipment to meet operational needs. Command centers can be portable, transportable, mobile or fixed structures that vary from a suite of transit cases, rigid-wall shelter, standard International Organization for Standardization (ISO) container, or a building.

Charter members of the consortium include the University of Alabama at Huntsville; Alabama A&M University; University of Texas at Austin; L-3 Communications, New York, N.Y.; Azbell Electronics, Waco, Texas; Harris Corporation, Melbourne, Fla.; ALICO Systems, Torrance, Calif.; Gichner Shelter Systems, Dallastown, Pa.; Armor Holdings, Jacksonville, Fla.; DRS Technologies Inc., Parsippany, N.J.; Spraycool ISR, Liberty Lake, Wash.; and Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Reston, Va. U.S. Army members include: Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna, Pa.; Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications Tactical (C3T), Fort Monmouth, N.J.; Program Manager, Tactical Operations Center (TOC), Huntsville; and Program Manager, Mounted Battle Command on the Move, Fort Monmouth.

Brig. Gen. Nick Justice, deputy program executive officer, C3T and Lt. Col. Dave Johnson, program manager, TOC attended the inaugural meeting last week.

In the near term, Northrop Grumman expects to apply the collective capabilities of the HSMECOE consortium on its Command Post Platform and Joint Services Light Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance programs and its improvised explosive device efforts.

Northrop Grumman employs approximately 1,200 people in 18 locations in the Huntsville area. Several of the current operations will be consolidated in a new headquarters facility scheduled to open in February 2007, which will house offices, laboratories, and research and development centers.

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:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-7046