EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 31, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Air Combat Systems business area of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems sector has received the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Level 5 Software Maturity rating, the institute's highest. This places the business area in the top 4 percent of Department of Defense and other federal government contractor organizations that have been measured against SEI's stringent computer software development standards.

The Software Productivity Consortium, an industry leader in SEI certification, led the independent audit of the software engineering organization and software development programs at Air Combat Systems, which is based in El Segundo. The assessment focused on several programs, including the B-2 stealth bomber and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Northrop Grumman is prime contractor for the B-2 and a principal member of the Lockheed Martin F-35 team.

Upcoming systems such as Northrop Grumman's RQ-4A Global Hawk reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle (UAV), naval unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV-N), Watchkeeper tactical UAV and the F-35 rely heavily on software to perform network-centric tasks with high reliability.

"This culminates a long journey for the hard-working professionals on our team," said Paul A. Marchisotto, ACS vice president for Engineering, Logistics and Technology. "The results of the assessment validate that we have institutionalized our software processes to maximize quality and minimize cost on a wide variety of programs."

Established in 1984, the SEI Capability Maturity Model provides a formal method to determine the maturity of an organization's computer software development process. SEI ratings, consisting of five levels, indicate an organization's commitment to an organized, managed approach to software development. The individual SEI ratings are initial (Level 1); repeatable (Level 2); defined (Level 3); managed (Level 4), and optimized (Level 5).

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management, early warning, airborne electronic warfare and air combat aircraft. It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.

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  CONTACT:  Jim Hart
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (310) 331-3616