PALMDALE, Calif., May 16, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP), a next generation signals intelligence sensor for the U.S. Air Force, has successfully completed the engineering checkout and calibration testing phase of the ASIP U-2 flight test program and has successfully embarked on the performance testing phase.

ASIP delivers enhanced signals intelligence capabilities to the warfighter. It detects, identifies and locates radar and other types of electronic and modern communication signals.

During the current performance test phase of the flight test program, the ASIP system is being tested using warfighter operational scenarios with control and data exploitation from contractor-owned ground station test facilities designed to simulate the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System.

The ASIP sensor is scheduled to complete flight test on the U-2 in the first quarter of 2008 with operational fielding expected in late 2008. The Global Hawk variant of the ASIP sensor is expected to complete flight testing in 2008 and begin production in 2009 with operational fielding in 2012.

Since inception of the ASIP program, the Northrop Grumman team has worked closely with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to ensure successful integration of the sensor with the ground station. For the past year, ground testing from the Northrop Grumman ASIP integration laboratory to equivalent labs at both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has been conducted to identify and correct sensor/ground station interface issues.

"Our success today in the first performance test flight is a validation that the ASIP sensor will be ready for operational deployment in late 2008 when the flight test program is complete," said Imad Bitar, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems sector's Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory business unit.

ASIP is a system-of-systems development program involving multiple Air Force and industry organizations. The ASIP industry team includes Northrop Grumman as prime contractor for the development of the ASIP sensor and the Global Hawk platform; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Bethesda, Md., which provides the U-2 aircraft and ground station interface; L-3 Communications, New York, which provides the data link; and Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass., which provides sensor and ground station interface.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  George I. Seffers
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          703.345.8548
          George.Seffers@ngc.com