MELBOURNE, Fla., Feb. 27, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) will receive one of two contracts to develop an Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) capability. The one-year, $12 million project will be funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Special Projects Office, which manages the technology effort with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) will build an experimental system that will network airborne ground moving target indication sensors to continuously and precisely track moving ground targets and utilize low-cost weapons to engage them.

The goal is to develop a system that will have long-duration surface tracking capabilities, improved sensors working within a network and the ability to use a variety of munitions available in-theater.

The ISS concept will be a system-of-systems designed and developed here by the sector's Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management Systems business area. It will encompass current and new Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) technologies and the capabilities of the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) radar developed by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector. The ultimate system will allow for multiple weapons and sensors to work within the AMSTE system grid to precisely track, target and destroy high-value, moving, surface targets without collateral damage.

For the live test this year, the Joint STARS radar will be networked with a JSF surrogate radar. These radars, working in concert, will provide precision tracks to a guided weapon supplied by Lockheed Martin's Missile Fire and Control Unit in Orlando, Fla., that will be launched from an F-16 to engage a moving ground target.

Orincon, San Diego, Calif., brings precision fire control target-tracking capabilities to the ISS AMSTE team. Alphatech, Burlington, Mass; Mission Research Corporation, Dayton, Ohio; and, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., will provide technology used for long-duration target tracking.

In mid-2001, the teams will submit proposals for the follow-on AMSTE program, which will be a more in-depth development of the system. A single contract is planned to be awarded at the end of 2001. DARPA could offer a final design for consideration for transition to production by the services in 2003 or later.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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