ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Nov. 19, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) first Increased Capability III EA-6B Prowler aircraft logged a successful 1-hour, 45-minute first flight on Nov. 16. The aircraft is one of two prototypes being modified here by Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector under an approximately $200 million development program for the U.S. Navy's ICAP III evaluation. Engineering was done in Bethpage, N.Y.

"Prowlers will be serving the nation through 2015 and the aircraft to follow it will fly for decades. They all will have ICAP III as their electronic attack weapon," said Philip A. Teel, sector vice president, Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare (AEW&EW) Systems. "The U.S. Navy has worked long and hard with us to bring this complex system to this point. We are proud of what we have accomplished."

Prowlers, operated by the Navy and Marine Corps while also serving the U.S. Air Force, are carrier-based aircraft designed to electronically jam radar and communication systems. Prowlers can also physically destroy those systems using High-speed Antiradiation Missiles.

Current Prowlers jam radar by transmitting electronic signals over broad frequency ranges to "blind" adversary radars operating within each range. ICAP III takes that energy and focuses it on the specific frequency of the threat radar. Significantly, sophisticated software in ICAP III enables the system to change the jamming frequency as quickly as modern radars change theirs to avoid jamming.

Other ICAP III improvements include an integrated communications jamming system, a provision for the Navy's Link 16 data link, and new displays and controls. Plans call for the system to be installed in current fleet EA-6B Prowlers. Initial operational capability for the fleet is slated for 2005.

ICAP III capability also forms the baseline for the Department of Defense's (DoD) follow-on airborne electronic attack system of systems. A DoD panel is conducting an Analysis of Alternatives to follow-on candidate systems. The follow-on system will augment and eventually replace EA-6B's in the DoD inventory by 2015.

Two ICAP III test aircraft will go to the Navy's test center at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for the flight test program. The second test aircraft will fly early next year.

Northrop Grumman is the ICAP III prime contractor. In addition to the work done here and in Bethpage, AEW&EW Systems is developing software with the Navy in Pt. Mugu, Calif. Key teammates for ICAP III development are Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, College Park, Md.; Integrated Systems' PRB Systems group, Hollywood, Md., and Camarillo, Calif.; and BAE Systems, Nashua, N.H.

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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