MELBOURNE, Fla., Sept. 19, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected to demonstrate the next phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) program.

The project is funded by DARPA's Special Projects Office in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y. Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector is conducting the project through its Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management (AGS&BM) Systems business area here. Terms and scope of the contract were not disclosed.

The purpose of the AMSTE program is to develop a system that locates and tracks a ground target moving at up to 50 m.p.h. and destroy it with an affordable precision weapon. This technology makes it possible for commanders to conduct multiple, near simultaneous, stand-off precision engagements of even the most mobile targets in all weather.

"This announcement validates the leadership position we enjoy in integrating system-of-systems to achieve critical results at reasonable cost on the advanced battlefield," said Ralph D. Crosby Jr., corporate vice president and president of Integrated Systems. "Demonstrating the know-how to kill movers based on real-time, stand-off intelligence is the fulfillment of the long-held promise of integrated surveillance and precision strike."

In August, the Northrop Grumman team successfully demonstrated the capability to precisely engage a moving target with a seeker-less weapon. The test, conducted in overcast conditions at Eglin AFB, Fla., scored a direct hit through the top center of a moving vehicle on the first try.

Key to this success was excellent system performance afforded by the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), which provided continuous in-flight target updates to a Lockheed Martin seeker-less weapon.

Updates were based on advanced fusion tracking of precise ground moving target indicator radar data from Joint STARS and the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter team radar sensor mounted on the Northrop Grumman flight test aircraft. This system-of-systems will be further enhanced in the next phase by adding the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle system to the intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance mix.

"This new technology will provide the warfighter with an unprecedented capability to deny adversaries sanctuary of movement. It enables precision engagement of moving targets from stand-off ranges in all weather using low-cost unitary weapons, minimizing the risk of collateral damages," said Bill McCall, senior program manager at Integrated Systems. "With our teammates, we will build on our successful system-of-systems design in the next phase to demonstrate increased levels of difficulty associated with tracking ground targets."

In addition to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control of Orlando, Fla., which provides the weapon and precision navigation capability, Orincon, San Diego, Calif., brings precision fire control target-tracking capabilities to the Integrated Systems AMSTE team. Alphatech, Burlington, Mass; Mission Research Corporation, Dayton, Ohio; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., provide technology used in long-duration target tracking. Neural Computing Systems, LLC, Irvine, Calif., will develop a scattering-based computer-aided tomography approach to target modeling and discrimination using high-range resolution and synthetic aperture radar data.

Northrop Grumman's Information Technology sector, Herndon, Va., provides information technology systems to the team and Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems, Baltimore, provides the JSF surrogate radar.

Northrop Grumman's AGS&BM Systems, a business unit of the company's Integrated Systems sector, is the development and production site for the Air Force's Joint STARS program, the world's most advanced battle management asset.

Headquartered in Dallas, Tex., Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 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.

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