BALTIMORE, Aug. 24, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a sole-source contract from the U.S. Special Operations Command to develop Viper Strike as a stand-off precision-guided munition (SOPGM) on the AC-130 gunship.

The $22 million contract is an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program with a potential full value of $48.6 million.

Viper Strike is a gliding munition capable of stand-off precision attack using GPS-aided navigation and a semi-active laser seeker. It is intended for operations that require a flexible angle of inclination (steep or shallow), particularly in mountainous terrain or built-up areas where strict rules of engagement are in force. Its small size and precision provide for low collateral damage in cluttered urban environments.

The first phase of the contract will demonstrate the use of the SOPGM from the gunship and begin development of operations concepts, and launcher and battle-management systems to optimize use of the precision munition. The second phase will demonstrate and assess the military utility of the SOPGM Weapon System on the AC-130, and expand its capability to include a data link for two-way communication with the munition.

Work on this contract will be performed primarily out of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems facilities in Huntsville, Ala., and will be incrementally funded. The first phase of the program is scheduled to be completed in December 2006.

"The AC-130 gunship provides outstanding warfighting capability across a broad range of missions," said Dave Shrum, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Land Forces business unit. "Viper Strike can add to this by providing a lightweight, low collateral damage, precision weapon at range. We're excited to be working with the Special Operations community to bring Viper Strike to their weapon arsenal, and we're looking forward to developing the system on the gunship."

Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radars, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services.

  CONTACT:  Paul Cabellon
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (410) 765-7192