RESTON, Va., Nov. 27, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced today that its Mission Systems sector has chosen the Microsoft ESP visual simulation platform to develop enhanced capabilities for joint military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR) and route and mission planning.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems expects to use Microsoft ESP for the long term on a number of C4ISR capabilities and technologies. The first target for cooperation will be Northrop Grumman's joint route and mission planning software architecture, which will be significantly enhanced through the use of Microsoft ESP.

This project will utilize Northrop Grumman's existing software to evolve capabilities and enable military route and mission planners to move from 2-dimensional to 3-dimensional (3-D) planning and immersive fly-through. Microsoft ESP supports high-fidelity, dynamic, 3-D experiences, which enable the rapid transformation of route and mission planning into a dynamic 3-D simulation for training and mission rehearsal.

"Northrop Grumman has years of experience developing and fielding route and mission planning software and is committed to helping evolve an integrated, interoperable system that will directly and significantly benefit mission planners for the U.S. military services, Special Operations Forces, and coalition partners," said Barry Rhine, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems division. "Combining Northrop Grumman expertise and Microsoft innovation, the next generation software architecture will be one of the most advanced tools ever seen for planning military missions."

"Microsoft is pleased to be working on providing the next generation of simulation tools for military route and mission planning in concert with Northrop Grumman. The cooperation between our two companies benefits the end-customer's operation by collaboratively planning and rehearsing complex missions involving multiple weapon systems and targets in true 3-D space," said Linda Zecher, Microsoft vice president of U.S. Public Sector.

"With Microsoft ESP, organizations can easily and cost-effectively apply the advantages of game-based technology to serious business simulation for flight mission planning and prototyping of aviation and surface marine objects in 3-D," said Don Mattrick, Microsoft senior vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business.

This new mission planning capability provides the warfighter with multiple- or single-ship plotting, as well as a pilot's view in 3-D rendering for aviation mission rehearsal. Both pilot and planner will have an enhanced ability to visualize the mission prior to execution and to identify and correct potential route conflicts with other aircraft.

Northrop Grumman's route and mission planning software architecture provides unit-level mission planning for all phases of military flight operations and is being integrated to support fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, weapons, and sensors, including precision-guided munitions, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for all military services. America's coalition partners currently use the system to plan missions for combat operations and combined U.S. and coalition operations. The software architecture is built on open standards and provides access to a broad array of critical data easily accessible from a mission planner's personal computer workstation.

Microsoft brings to the warfighter years of investment in its Flight Simulator franchise. It can help enable military organizations to augment flight mission prototyping with an extensive set of portable visual simulation capabilities to create dynamic, immersive experiences from a personal computer-based platform.

The Microsoft ESP platform supports commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software, offering an array of software development tools for code development, content integration, scenario building, prototyping 3-D aviation and scenery objects and world-class visualization of military routes and missions.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  George I. Seffers
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-8548