SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 22, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) demonstrated key refinements to its hardware and software designs for the Army's Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR) program during a review this month.

The enhancements, presented to a joint team representing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Army, prepare the company to advance to the next phase of the UCAR program. DARPA is expected to select a single contractor for Phase III of the program in early 2005.

"Northrop Grumman has continued to make progress in several key areas of its UCAR design," said Don Woodbury, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's UCAR program manager. "During the review, we evaluated the latest release of the company's mission management software. The government team inserted unscripted scenario and threat changes in the simulation to test the software's robustness and the software demonstrated the capability to respond effectively to these real-time changes."

The hardware review covered the initial detailed designs of key demonstrator air vehicle components, including the UCAR's intermeshing rotor propulsion system. This work has matured the design of long lead items, reducing Phase III execution risk.

Following the review, Northrop Grumman conducted the fourth in a series of planned demonstrations in its Cyber Warfare Integration Network simulation facility in San Diego to illustrate how UCAR aircraft will autonomously operate with manned aircraft in manned-unmanned teams.

As in previous demonstrations, two Ft. Rucker, Ala.-based Army aviators "flew" an Apache cockpit simulator and provided feedback on the system's performance.

Northrop Grumman's work is currently being performed under a $1.5 million extension to the Phase II contract. During Phase III, the winning UCAR prime contractor will build and test two demonstrator systems.

UCAR will perform armed reconnaissance and attack missions as part of the Army's Future Force initiative. The unmanned aircraft system is scheduled to enter service around 2012.

By collaborating within the company and across industry, Northrop Grumman draws upon the talent and technology of a strong industry team for its UCAR program. That team includes five of the company's seven operating sectors - Integrated Systems, Electronic Systems, Information Technology, Mission Systems and Space Technology -plus Sikorsky Aircraft, Kaman Aerospace Corporation, L-3 Communications, BAE Systems, ITT Industries, Rockwell Collins, Microsoft, Natural Selection, Inc., Grove Aircraft Company, the Saber Group LLC, and BBI International.

Northrop Grumman is the leading producer of unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S. Department of Defense. The company designs systems that span the capability spectrum from the U.S. Air Force's combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk and the Army's RQ-5 Hunter, to future combat systems such as the stealthy X-47 Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems, currently in development for a joint U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy/DARPA team.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use in networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

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