SAN DIEGO, July 3, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) took delivery Monday of a second unmanned prototype of the Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) from Schweizer Aircraft Company, the airframe manufacturer. The company-procured vehicle will be used in Fire Scout VTUAV system risk-reduction testing.

Dubbed P-3, the vehicle will include a dual-redundant avionics system similar to the one designed for the production Fire Scout system. Joining a manned VTUAV system in the company-funded, two-vehicle test fleet, P-3 will begin flight tests at the end of the year. The first engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) vehicle, E-1, is expected to be delivered in July, while the EMD flight test program is scheduled to begin in February 2002.

Currently in low-rate initial production (LRIP), the Fire Scout system will provide reconnaissance, situational awareness and precision targeting support for the U.S. Navy and forces ashore. The system is designed to autonomously take-off from and land on any aviation-capable ship. It will provide continuous operations with a vehicle endurance of more than six hours and provide coverage 110 nautical miles from its launch site using a baseline payload that includes electro-optical/infrared sensors and a laser designator.

The first LRIP system will be deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps and will include three air vehicles, two ground control stations, a data link suite, remote data terminals and modular mission payloads.

Northrop Grumman's VTUAV team includes the company's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (ES3), based in Baltimore, Md., which is teamed with TAMAM-Israel Aircraft Industries and is responsible for the sensor payload. The team also includes Schweizer Aircraft Corporation, Elmira, N.Y.; Lockheed Martin Federal Systems, Owego, N.Y.; L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Sierra Nevada Corporation, Sparks, Nev.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS 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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          Cynthia Curiel
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