ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., Nov. 14, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Air Force has successfully integrated the LITENING Extended Range (ER) precision targeting system into its F-15E fighter aircraft in less than 90 days, due to the combined efforts of the Air Force, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Systems sector.

After initial flight clearance tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the first operational evaluation mission of this new combat capability for the Strike Eagle aircraft was successfully completed Oct. 22 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Air Combat Command aircrews continue to perform weapon system and tactics evaluation missions at Nellis.

The Northrop Grumman LITENING ER is a self-contained, multisensor laser target designating and navigation system that enables fighter pilots to detect, acquire, track and identify ground targets for highly accurate delivery of both conventional and precision-guided weapons. LITENING ER features include a 640 x 512 pixel forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera; charge-coupled device television; laser spot tracker/range finder; infrared (IR) marker; and a laser designator.

"Our LITENING ER team worked closely with the Air Force and Boeing's Strike Eagle team to make this rapid integration a success," said Mike Lennon, vice president of Targeting and Surveillance Programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows. "LITENING ER provides the Air Force's primary long-range air interdiction fighter with the combat-proven capabilities, including day and night tracking of both surface and airborne targets, IR marking of targets for ground troops, and two-level maintenance on the flight line."

The LITENING ER system's unique architecture and modular design enabled engineers at the Boeing Avionics Integration Center in St. Louis to verify LITENING ER and aircraft compatibility. No change to the F-15E's operational flight program software was required, thus minimizing time, cost and risk associated with the system integration. LITENING ER pods are currently fielded with Air National Guard (ANG) F-16s and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8Bs. LITENING ER's predecessor, the LITENING II system with a 256 FLIR, is also operational on ANG/Air Force Reserve Command F-16s, and on AV-8Bs owned and operated by the USMC, and the Italian and Spanish navies.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense electronics systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems, and automation and information systems.

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