CLEARFIELD, Utah, March 31, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) was awarded a $135 million dollar, six-year contract this week to begin the full-rate production phase of the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle (SERV) program.

Under the SERV program, the Minuteman III missile will now carry single Mark 21 reentry vehicles, recently decommissioned from the Peacekeeper force, to ensure continued reliability and effectiveness of the ICBM weapon system. Lockheed Martin and Boeing are principal teammates on this program.

This award follows the third successful flight test of a SERV-modified Minuteman III conducted by the U.S. Air Force on Feb. 16. Along with earlier flight tests in July and August 2005, this latest test proved the successful integration of modified hardware and software into the existing Minuteman III weapon system.

"The significance of this third flight test is that it also demonstrated the successful integration of every major Minuteman III modernization and life-extension effort managed by Northrop Grumman, such as the guidance and propulsion and command center upgrades," said John Clay, Mission Systems Sector vice president and ICBM Integration Contract general manager. "The success of this flight test paved the way for full-rate production to begin and illustrates Northrop Grumman's commitment to its customer," Clay said.

The entire force of 500 Minuteman III missiles is slated to be upgraded with the SERV modifications by 2011. SERV is one of eight large modification programs Northrop Grumman currently manages in support of U.S. Air Force efforts to sustain the country's ICBM arsenal.

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Md., developed the electronic and mechanical hardware that interfaces the reentry vehicle with the rest of the Minuteman III missile. Lockheed Martin's Valley Forge, Pa., facility produces the electrical and mechanical hardware, support equipment and associated logistics support.

The Boeing Company, Chicago, Ill., is responsible for modifying flight software, replacing the guidance system and integrating it into the missile.

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