BETHPAGE, N.Y., Aug. 20, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- A U.S. Navy flight test crew, flying a Northrop Grumman Corporation-produced (NYSE:NOC) E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft equipped with a new Surveillance Infrared Search and Track (SIRST) sensor, successfully detected and tracked a theater ballistic missile target launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

This was the first live-fire test of the SIRST sensor, under development for the Advanced Hawkeye by a team composed of the Navy, Northrop Grumman and the Raytheon Company. The successful July 9th test began a series of tests to demonstrate future naval technologies.

"We went into this first test knowing it would perform well because of the successful number of simulated missile detections when evaluated against our Universal Missile Simulator," said Philip A. Teel, sector vice president for Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Systems (AEW&EW). "SIRST performed even better than expected when confronted with an actual missile launch. This is a significant step in the development of the SIRST program, which will make the Hawkeye an even more important player in the overall fleet theater early warning and command and control concept of operations."

The goal of this program is to develop a fleet-wide missile detection and tracking capability for the Advanced Hawkeye, the next generation of the E-2C that is expected to follow after the current production Hawkeye 2000. The data from this successful test will be analyzed and applied along with data from the other program phases to further improve the system. Other phases of the program, some of which are ongoing, have analyzed the use of different missile-tracking sensors and the placement of sensors on the aircraft.

The heart of the SIRST system is a small infrared sensor located on the nose of the E-2C. Processors, controllers and displays inside the aircraft provide the detection and tracking information to the E-2C mission crew. To support the SIRST Phase, Northrop Grumman developed the Universal Missile Simulator. It is a hardware-in-the-loop simulator that allows a variety of calibrated, simulated moving targets to be presented to an infrared search and track sensor for testing. The Universal Missile Simulator presents an image of a missile through a projection telescope so that it appears to be at a great distance. The missile launch scenario could be exactly repeated many times, and parameters varied, to generate confidence in a statistical probability of success of the SIRST, as shown by this first live-fire test.

The Navy is leading the team and conducting the flight test program. Integrated Systems business area here is responsible for SIRST system integration with the E-2C, vehicle installation, control interface, as well as supporting ground- and flight-testing. Raytheon Systems, El Segundo, Calif., is responsible for the subsystem design and integration.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., 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 aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion, global aerospace and defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

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