MELBOURNE, Fla., Nov. 10, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- A Northrop Grumman- (NYSE:NOC) led team has moved the U.S. Air Force a critical step closer to developing and deploying the battle management command and control (BMC2) subsystem for the E-10A multisensor command and control aircraft. The E-10A is envisioned as a central node in the Air Force's planned Command and Control Constellation, a network of airborne and space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors that will provide timely information to warfighters.

Between Oct. 7-9, the team "flew" a fully functional mock-up of its proposed BMC2 subsystem as the central node in a network of simulated battlefield sensors, command and control elements and precision strike elements. Conducted on Northrop Grumman's Cyber Warfare Integration Network (CWIN), the exercises demonstrated the BMC2 subsystem's ability to serve as an airborne, execution-based Air Operations Center for time-sensitive targeting.

"These tests provided a critical milestone for refining our BMC2 concept for the Air Force," said Scott J. Seymour, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Integrated Systems sector. "They allowed us to observe real-time interactions among the BMC2 subsystem, its crew of operators and the dynamic events in our simulated environment."

Northrop Grumman implemented the BMC2 node using its Crew Area Virtual Environment in Melbourne, a 40-foot mockup of a Boeing 767-400R fuselage equipped with a full suite of BMC2 operator consoles. Also participating in the command and control exercise were a variety of surveillance and weapon systems represented by high-fidelity simulations supplied by the company's CWIN facilities in Melbourne, El Segundo, Calif., Washington, D.C. and Bethpage, N.Y.

The BMC2 exercises comprised two sessions per day for three consecutive days. The team used data collected during each session to further refine its BMC2 architectural concepts.

"These exercises were just the beginning of what will be an extensive test and evaluation process," said John Casko, Northrop Grumman's BMC2 program director. "We'll use this approach to identify the best tools and methods of operation for capturing and converting time-critical information into decision-quality knowledge for commanders."

The team's BMC2 architecture incorporates lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom, he added, by emphasizing speed of command, shared situational awareness, dynamic employment, joint operations, intelligence preparation of the battle space, battle damage assessment and precision strike.

The Air Force's E-10A will also provide cruise-missile defense and next-generation airborne ground surveillance and targeting capabilities. As the operational brain of the aircraft, the BMC2 subsystem collects, integrates, exploits and distributes sensor data collected by the aircraft's radar and other sensors throughout the overall command-and-control constellation. Commanders will use this knowledge to rapidly drive effects-based combat operations, with a strong focus on creating decision-quality information for identifying, tracking and targeting cruise missiles and ground-moving targets.

Northrop Grumman's BMC2 proposal effort is being led by the company's Integrated Systems sector. The team includes four other Northrop Grumman sectors (Electronic Systems, Information Technology, Mission Systems and Space Technology), plus Harris Corp., General Dynamics, Cisco Systems, Oracle Corp., Zel Technologies, Alphatech, L-3 Communication Systems West, L-3 ComCept and CollaborX.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, produce and support fully missionized integrated systems and subsystems. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services in support of chosen segments within the broad market areas of battlespace awareness, command and control systems and integrated combat systems.

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  CONTACT:  Jim Stratford
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (321) 726-7526
          jim.stratford@ngc.com