BALTIMORE, Feb. 27, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (ES3) has been awarded a contract by The Boeing Company for more than $300 million (U.S.) to provide its Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar for Australia's Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) program called Project Wedgetail.

The Boeing-led team of ES3, Boeing Australia Limited and BAE SYSTEMS Australia, will share in a more than $1 billion (U.S.) Boeing contract awarded in mid-December 2000 by the Commonwealth of Australia to develop and provide four 737 AEW&C aircraft. The contract contains options for an additional three aircraft. The aircraft will be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.

"This allows us to continue our leadership in AEW&C into this important market segment," said Bill Adams, Northrop Grumman's vice president-Airborne Surveillance Systems. "We applied all our AWACS experience and company investments in critical radar technology to our solution and the long wait has paid off with a highly capable system that meets all the Australian requirements. We are delighted that our team can move forward to launch this exciting system for the Royal Australian Air Force."

During the next several months, many ES3 efforts will be focused on the preliminary design reviews for the radar, including radar interfaces with the rest of the mission system and aircraft. The first two aircraft should be delivered to the Commonwealth in 2006.

The MESA radar is the latest generation airborne surveillance radar system for mid-cost AEW&C. Selected in 1999 for the Australian Wedgetail AEW&C project, the electronically scanned array features three apertures sharing "L" band frequency transmit and receive modules to attain 360 degrees of coverage. The exclusive "Top Hat" provides a practical solution for fore and aft coverage while maintaining the low drag profile of the dorsal array system.

Combined with the primary radar is an integrated IFF system, which solves all target correlation problems by using the same aperture as the primary radar. The "L" band frequency is an optimum blend of range, detection capability, size and weight.

The radar provides significant operational capability by allowing the system to be dynamically tailored to match mission requirements. If the operator needs a long-range view of a specific sector, system modes may be selected to search that sector at more than double the nominal uniform surveillance range. Additionally, variable track update rates and dedicated tracking assist the operator in maintaining control of high-performance aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector, headquartered in Baltimore, is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics and systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, space systems, marine systems, logistic systems, and automation and information systems.

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         Jim Reinhard
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