CLEARFIELD, Utah, Jan. 5, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a contract for 22 months to continue the full-rate production phase of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Propulsion System Rocket Engine (PSRE) Life Extension Program (LEP). The PSRE is the fourth and final stage rocket engine on the Minuteman III missile. This LEP effort involves refurbishing and replacing aged flight hardware and ordnance in this stage to maintain alert-readiness of the missiles.

This $15 million contract, awarded on Nov. 28, 2006, represents the second of six full-rate production options under the thirteen-year PSRE LEP contract. Options three through six are expected to be exercised annually by the Air Force through Fiscal Year 2011. These final four options would total $58 million. The PSRE LEP contract began in 2000 and is potentially valued at $155 million over the life of the program.

"The Northrop Grumman PSRE LEP team, comprised of Aerojet and our government partners, has successfully completed the low-rate initial production program and have transitioned seamlessly into full-rate production," said John Clay, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's ICBM prime integration contract. "We are poised to deliver annually on this effort as part of our overarching role to support the Air Force in keeping the Minuteman III a viable deterrent today and tomorrow."

Aerojet is providing all the PSRE refurbishment kit flight hardware as Northrop Grumman's sole subcontractor. Under a partnership agreement, government technicians will install the kit hardware in the PSRE at its Hill Air Force Base depot facilities. All team members are centrally located on Hill Air Force Base and at the Aerojet-leased Freeport Facility in Clearfield, Utah.

Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's ICBM prime integration contractor charged with modernizing and maintaining alert readiness of the U.S. ICBM weapon system through 2020. The company manages a team consisting of three principal teammates -- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and ATK -- and more than 20 subcontractors.

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:  Marynoele Benson
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems 
          (703) 741-7723
          marynoele.benson@ngc.com