PASCAGOULA, Miss., May 1, 2003 -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ship Systems sector a contract to evaluate the performance of composite structures in high-speed vessel hull forms and displacements.

The Composite High-Speed Vessel project, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, will continue the development of composites as a primary structural material. The return on investment for the Navy is reduced life cycle costs from lowered maintenance, reduced weight and improved stealth characteristics. The value of the contract is $15.1 million.

"This contract will allow our team of designers and engineers to demonstrate the capability and potential of lightweight composite materials for small naval combatants. It will also enhance our research into composites and their application in modern vessels," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems Sector.

Design and evaluation work will be performed here and is expected to be complete by October 2004.

Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; as well as a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. The sector, which currently employs more than 18,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

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