PARIS AIR SHOW, Le BOURGET, France, June 18, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has commissioned the first Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), which is now operational at San Francisco International Airport. The system is produced by Norden Systems, a business unit of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector.

This system provides air traffic controllers with visual and aural alerts of potential accidents caused by runway incursions. The country's 34 busiest airports are scheduled to get AMASS.

"We are very pleased with the progress our team has made over the past years on this AMASS program. Our team has met all the production contract major milestones that were set forth and within costs. The product is working. It's a system that will save lives and help the safety of the flying public," said Guido Sottosanti, Norden Systems AMASS program manager.

AMASS is an enhancement to the Northrop Grumman Norden Systems Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model 3 (ASDE-3) radar. The system works by processing surveillance data from the ASDE-3, the airport surveillance radar, and the terminal automation system. It then determines conflicts based on the position, velocity and acceleration of airborne arrival aircraft with ground-based aircraft and vehicles. ASDE-3 enables controllers to observe airport surface movements, particularly at night and when visual observation is impaired by bad weather.

The approval for deployment came after AMASS successfully completed the independent operational test and evaluation phase at the San Francisco and Detroit airports.

The remaining 33 airports are scheduled to have the AMASS system in operation by the end of 2002. Developing AMASS into a useful, reliable warning system to meet user requirements has been an extremely complex technical challenge.

AMASS is fully configurable to each airport. At the heart of the AMASS function, thousands of site specific parameters are generated and applied to a set of generic operational situations in order to perform the safety checks. The generic operational situations are categorized into single- and multiple-track situations.

Single-track warning situations involve an aircraft or vehicle, by themselves, violating a safety rule. For example, each surface (taxiway or runway) is assigned a normal direction for a particular operational configuration. If a pilot steers incorrectly in the opposite direction, comparable to going the wrong way on a one way street, a caution indication is provided immediately to the controller on the ASDE-3 display, thus bringing attention to a potentially dangerous situation or incursion.

Multiple-track warning situations involve two aircraft or vehicles which are on a possible collision course. Multiple-track alerts are only issued if one of the two aircraft pair being analyzed is moving at a high rate of speed or, in the case of an aircraft, is determined to be in a landing, arrival or departure movement profile.

Northrop Grumman's Electronics Sensors and Systems Sector headquartered in Baltimore, Md., is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics and systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, space systems, marine systems, logistics systems and automation and information systems.

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          Fran Di Meglio
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