MOSS POINT, Miss., Feb. 18, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is expanding the scope of work at its planned Jackson County, Miss., unmanned- systems center at Trent Lott International Airport to include the low-cost manufacture of subassemblies for the U.S. Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV).
Originally slated to occupy 39,000 square feet and employ approximately 40 people to produce the Fire Scout UAV for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, the company's Integrated Systems sector facility will now occupy more than 100,000 square feet and initially provide 100 high-tech manufacturing jobs. That figure could rise to about 160 jobs within the next few years should UAV production rates increase.
Construction will begin later this month and be completed in November. Northrop Grumman will hire and train new employees starting in September. Production start-up is planned for January 2006.
"Throughout its history, the unmanned air vehicle has been an extremely cost-effective means for our military customer to execute certain operational missions," said Christopher Hernandez, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's unmanned systems business. "Expanding operations at this low cost manufacturing center in Moss Point enables Northrop Grumman to directly respond to our customers' desire to manage UAV costs and provide the best-value solution for their acquisition dollar."
In addition to being an ideal location for building, testing and flying UAVs, the Trent Lott International Airport allows Northrop Grumman to expand opportunities for a local, well-trained workforce and leverage resources and systems-engineering skills at the company's shipbuilding operations in nearby Pascagoula, Miss.
Integrated Systems is the fourth Northrop Grumman organization to locate in Jackson County. Northrop Grumman's shipbuilding operations have been in Pascagoula since 1938. The company's Electronic Systems and Information Technology sectors also have facilities and employees in Jackson County.
Northrop Grumman will continue to perform Global Hawk final assembly and flight testing at facilities in Palmdale, Calif. and at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Employees currently supporting Global Hawk subassembly in Palmdale will be assigned to other Northrop Grumman programs located at the same facility.
Northrop Grumman is the industry leader in the development and production of UAV systems. Integrated Systems performs research, design, development and engineering for its unmanned systems in San Diego. Development and production of UAV payload and navigation systems is led by the company's Electronic Systems sector based in Baltimore.
The RQ-8B Fire Scout is a vertical takeoff and landing UAV based upon the Schweizer 333 commercial helicopter. The Fire Scout system will provide surveillance, reconnaissance, communications relay and precision targeting to support tactical military operations from ships at sea and unimproved landing areas for the Navy, and as the Class IV UAV for the Army's Future Combat System. Both versions will be produced in Moss Point.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance reconnaissance system that provides near-real-time imagery of the earth's surface to battlespace commanders at sea and on the ground. The system has logged more than 6,000 flight hours with nearly half accumulated during combat operations supporting the global war on terrorism.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
CONTACT: Cynthia Curiel Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (858) 618-4355 email@example.com