ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., July 19, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- A full year ahead of schedule, a U.S Air Force-led team has entered initial operational test and evaluation of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system on Air Force C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft.

The LAIRCM system is a laser-based countermeasures system that protects large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing aircraft from an infrared missile attack by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity countermeasure system to track and defeat the threat. LAIRCM is produced by Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows, Ill.

"LAIRCM flight testing began last April, featuring a single transmitter configuration, and was rapidly and successfully expanded to include two and three transmitter LAIRCM configurations," said Dr. Robert Del Boca, vice president, Infrared Countermeasures and Laser Systems at the Defensive Systems Division.

The test program involved more than 100 flight hours and 2,000 simulated threat engagements. C-17 flight testing was conducted at Edwards and Holloman Air Force Bases, while C-130 testing occurred at Eglin Air Force Base. The regimen also included successful effectiveness testing at the Air Force Electronic Warfare Evaluation Simulator and live missile-firing tests at White Sands Missile Range.

The tested LAIRCM system incorporates Northrop Grumman's Viper(TM) multiband laser, which features a number of manufacturing technology improvements developed by the Air Force Research Labs (AFRL).

The teamwork contributing to the acceleration of the LAIRCM development program included Air Force personnel from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, 46th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Air Force Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) at Kirkland and Eglin Air Force bases, representatives from the Office of Secretary of Defense, and contractors Lockheed Martin Systems Integration Division, Boeing Long Beach, and the Northrop Grumman LAIRCM team.

Based in Rolling Meadows, Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division designs, develops and manufactures radio frequency and electro-optic/infrared products that protect military aircraft, ships, satellites and ground vehicles from attack by modern weapons; provide tactical aircraft with 24-hour targeting and navigation capabilities; ensure high-value, complex, electronic and electro-optical weapons systems are mission ready; and evaluate defense electronic performance in complex environments.

The Defensive Systems Division is a component of the company's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services.

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  CONTACT: 
Katie Lamb
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
(847) 259-9600, ext. 3542