SAN DIEGO, Dec. 2, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully conducted a critical design review of its MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the U.S. Navy. The review moves the program closer to full-scale production and delivery of the vertical takeoff and landing UAV to the Navy.

"The teamwork shown by the integrated U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman program team resulted in an excellent and well-coordinated design review," said Cmdr. Rob Murphy, the Navy's team lead for the Fire Scout program. "The long hours of preparation really paid off."

The review brought together the Northrop Grumman Fire Scout team, the Navy and U.S. Army program teams, Navy representatives for Littoral Combat Ship integration and members of the Army's Future Combat System program. Both services have been closely involved in the design to maximize commonality across the Fire Scout platforms.

The technical review process covered every aspect of the UAV to ensure it meets all current and future requirements. Specifically, the review included air-vehicle design, avionics and payload architecture, communications and data links, ship- and land-based launch and recovery and the ability to integrate future payloads onto the aircraft.

"Working with our Navy counterparts, the Fire Scout program continues to mature into a capable and supportable asset for the warfighter," said Doug Fronius, Northrop Grumman's program director for the Navy Fire Scout.

Final assembly of the Fire Scout air vehicles will take place at Northrop Grumman's new manufacturing facility in Moss Point, Miss. The first airframe is scheduled to arrive there in January from Schweizer Aircraft Corp., a major supplier. Following assembly, ground testing and first flight are scheduled to be completed in late 2006.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

  CONTACT:  Tim Paynter
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-4245