SAN DIEGO, Jan. 12, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) received the first MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) airframe from its teammate, Schweizer Aircraft Corp., on Jan. 3 at Northrop Grumman's new Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., signaling the start of aircraft production.

"This is a significant delivery at our new facility because it signals not only the beginning of UAV production, but it also underscores Northrop Grumman's commitment to the economy of the Gulf Coast region," said Chris Hernandez, sector vice president for unmanned systems at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector.

This airframe is the first of 12 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing UAVs that will be assembled at the Moss Point facility, which is co-located with the Trent Lott International Airport. The U.S. Navy will receive four Fire Scout UAVs and eight will be delivered to the U.S. Army.

"The Unmanned Systems Center is the culmination of years of hard work between Jackson County, the state of Mississippi and Northrop Grumman," said George Freeland, executive director of Jackson County's Economic Development Foundation. "In addition to our shipbuilding base, this adds aircraft production to Mississippi's portfolio of high-technology products and jobs."

Northrop Grumman currently has 25 employees at the Moss Point facility, which can accommodate a workforce of up to 250 employees for full-scale production.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.