RESTON, Va. and BOULDER, Colo., April 10, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Last week, Northrop Grumman again successfully performed a test of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) battle management capability, known as the Fire Control and Communications system (KFC/C). This is the second consecutive KFC/C test performed ahead of schedule this year. The first test was performed on March 1.

KEI is a mobile, land-based missile defense system that, when deployed, will be able to destroy a hostile missile during its boost, ascent and early midcourse phase of flight. Under contract to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Northrop Grumman is leading the team charged with developing and testing a KEI capability. The program is currently on track for a booster flight in 2008, a key knowledge point for MDA.

In this second test, which occurred on April 5, a KEI battery in the field successfully received direct downlink data from overhead sensors, as well as sensor data from the continental U.S. KEI (CKEI) system at the Joint National Integration Center, and for the first time, radar data from the forward-based X-band (FBX) radar. The FBX radar is a key ballistic missile defense system sensor. The KFC/C system fused data from these multiple sources to perform tracking, prediction, and threat typing, producing an integrated engagement plan to negate the threat. This accomplishment replicates an actual KEI field deployment where data from multiple sensor types will be used to optimize KEI accuracy and response time.

The combined results of the two tests performed on the KFC/C system this year verified that the KFC/C solution can "close the fire control loop," meeting the stringent timelines and accuracy requirements associated with engaging and shooting down a target missile in the boost/ascent phase of flight. These tests also mark the culmination of risk-reduction activities that precede design and development of the KFC/C system by the Northrop Grumman team.

"We have met every objective to date on the battle management capability, proving beyond a doubt that this KEI fire control solution can quickly and accurately shoot down a hostile threat within the boost/ascent phase of flight," said Craig Staresinich, vice president and general manager of the KEI program for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "MDA can now receive and process more data at a higher rate and can, therefore, more rapidly predict and counter the threat.

KEI, over the past year, has met several critical risk-mitigating milestones. These include a successful firing of the second-stage rocket motor in January with teammates Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass., and ATK, Edina, Minn.; a previous successful test of the system's battle-management capability in March of this year, and in May 2005; and two high-speed wind-tunnel tests performed by Raytheon, principal teammate and lead for the interceptor-development work, in July and December of 2005. The program plans a number of other risk-reduction activities including a test of the stage-one rocket motor later this year, leading up to a booster flight in 2008.

For more information about Northrop Grumman in missile defense, go to on the Internet.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 125,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  CONTACT:  Marynoele Benson
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 741-7723