BALTIMORE, May 13, 2002 -- The U.S. Postal Service has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Security Systems, LLC, unit a contract to test its Automated Bio-agent Detection System, which is designed to protect consumers and postal employees from the threat of bio-terrorism.
Northrop Grumman and team members Cepheid, Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Environmental Technologies Group, a subsidiary of London-based Smiths Aerospace; and Sceptor Industries of Kansas City, Mo., will install and test the system in several Postal Service facilities. The pilot program, which provides initial funding of $3.7 million, will allow the Postal Service to validate system performance before selecting equipment later this year for a multimillion-dollar production contract.
"This award is the result of a great team effort," said Mitchell D. Mroz, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Automation and Information Systems Division. "We assembled companies with diverse backgrounds in medical diagnostics, military bio-detection, aerosol science, and automation technology, which together have developed a system that can significantly enhance the safety of Postal Service employees and the American public."
The Automated Bio-agent Detection System collects and analyzes air samples from mail-sorting systems using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to detect trace amounts of DNA from anthrax spores and other biological agents.
Following the anthrax attacks of October 2001, the Postal Service began evaluating numerous types of bio-detection equipment and technologies. After months of exhaustive testing, it selected PCR as the most effective technology for this application, based on its sensitivity, specificity and maturity of development.
Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., Northrop Grumman's Automation and Information Systems Division has been providing automation design, equipment fabrication, field deployment and logistics support to the Postal Service for more than 11 years. The division is part of the Electronic Systems sector, 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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