BALTIMORE, July 6, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The interoperability of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) family of multi-intelligence ground stations with a variety of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors was successfully demonstrated recently.

During a June 12-21 Combined Joint Task Force Exercise sponsored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command at Ft. Bragg, N.C., the Army's Tactical Exploitation System (TES) received imagery and other data from sensors on an Air Force U-2, an Air Force Joint STARS, and a Navy F/A-18, and rapidly processed it for use by warfighters in efficiently directing simulated battlefield engagements.

Northrop Grumman's multi-intelligence family is a distributed set of intelligence ground stations with the capability to task, process, exploit, post, and use all source imagery, signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicators. This correlated information gives the operator the information necessary for time-sensitive operations.

"The outstanding performance of our distributed multi-intelligence systems in the Combined Joint Task Force Exercise replicated the capabilities of our TES family of systems during Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Glenn Severn, TES Program Manager at Northrop Grumman. "Such horizontal integration is crucial to providing warfighters the best ISR information available, regardless of which service collected or processed it."

Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System imagery from a U-2 was collected by TES and processed for use by military commanders on the ground in identifying and focusing on areas of interest and potential targets. This included the dynamic retasking of the radar sensor to support a simulated time-critical strike. For the first time, TES also successfully received a direct downlink of shared reconnaissance pod (SHARP) imagery from an F/A-18, which was rapidly processed and posted to the shared database. Lacking a live fly of a new type of U-2 imagery sensor, the TES played a tape to validate this electro-optical and infrared sensor processing capability.

While not officially part of the military exercise, two other Northrop Grumman TES units also managed to play key supporting roles. The two ground stations were at Ft. Bragg undergoing a scheduled software upgrade. As part of a performance check of the newly installed software, both TES systems were able to receive and process moving target indicator and synthetic aperture radar data directly from an Air Force Joint STARS surveillance platform. That information was then published to the TES unit allowing further correlation of data.

All told, more than 500 images and SIGINT from six separate sensors were captured and processed by TES. All three of the active TES systems deployed during the exercise will be redeployed to appropriate duty locations.

"TES' performance in this military exercise validates the Pentagon's vision of interoperable, open architecture, distributed ground stations operating in a horizontally integrated environment," said Dave Chaffee, director of C4ISRT Networked Systems Air Force Programs at Northrop Grumman. "Successful integration of these multi-intelligence capabilities will be significant to the future of the Department of Defense Distributed Common Ground System."

In this regard, Mr. Chaffee noted that the next incremental spiral upgrade to Northrop Grumman's multi-intelligence architecture (Common Software Baseline 7.0) is scheduled for release in October. Among other things, it will begin to integrate elements of the Air Force distributed common ground system integration backbone (DIB).

A total of nearly 50 Northrop Grumman distributed ground stations are currently fielded with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. They are alternately known as TES (Army), Joint Fires Network (Navy), ISR Manager (Air Force), and Tactical Exploitation Group (Marines).

Headquartered in Baltimore, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronics and systems including intelligence ground stations, 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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Jack Martin Jr.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
(410) 765-4441