BALTIMORE, Dec. 12, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Security Systems LLC unit a contract to expand and continue the testing of its Bio-Agent Detection System (BDS), which is designed to help protect postal employees and consumers from the threat of bioterrorism.

Under this preproduction contract, Northrop Grumman and team members Cepheid, Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Smiths Detection - Edgewood, Inc., a subsidiary of London-based Smiths Aerospace; and Sceptor Industries of Kansas City, Mo., will install and test systems at 14 USPS facilities. This will enable the postal service to validate performance of the final BDS design, which successfully completed a pilot program earlier this year. The BDS may eventually be deployed at postal service facilities throughout the country, pending award of a full production contract.

The BDS collects and analyzes air samples from mail-sorting systems using polymerase chain reaction technology to detect trace amounts of DNA from anthrax spores and other biological agents.

"We're proud to continue our support of this critical initiative, which will enhance the safety and security not only of postal service employees but of the American people at large," said Vicki Spira, vice president of Postal Systems at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector.

John Bishop, chief executive officer of Cepheid, added, "Cepheid's robust GeneXpert technology allows genetic testing to be taken to the point of need, such as a postal service facility, where hands-off operation and rapid results are imperative."

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.

Cepheid is a leading developer and manufacturer of miniaturized, fully integrated systems for rapid, on-site detection of DNA, the universal biological identifier. The company is commercializing its technology and products for scientific, medical, and industrial applications that require time-critical detection of human and other genes, infectious disease agents, and industrial and environmental contaminants at the point of need.

Smiths Detection - Edgewood is a leading developer and manufacturer of full-service, advanced engineering technology for nuclear, biological, and chemical detection systems for government and other commercial applications. Smiths Detection is part of Smiths Aerospace, the leading transatlantic aerospace equipment company, with half of its 12,000 employees and $2 billion business situated in North America. The company holds key positions in the supply chains of all major military and civil aircraft and engine manufacturers and is a world leader in electronic systems, detection and protection systems, actuation systems, and precision components.

Sceptor Industries holds licenses from the Midwest Research Institute to manufacture the SpinCon aerosol collector and other equipment used in the analysis of environmental samples.

  CONTACT:  Doug Cantwell
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (410) 765-9332