HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 8, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) conducted simulant drop tests Sept. 23 that successfully demonstrated the feasibility of releasing a Bat submunition from a Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Co-sponsored by the Army's Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Project Office, the drops were performed at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. They pave the way for an October test series at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., that will demonstrate engagement of large moving targets by Bats released from a Hunter.

Collectively, these initial rounds of tests represent the first of two planned demonstration phases. Phase 1 is intended to demonstrate operational capability of the baseline Bat from Hunter. This version of Bat, currently in production at Northrop Grumman's Land Combat Systems facility in Huntsville, is an autonomous munition that uses a combination of passive acoustic and IR sensors to seek, identify and destroy moving armored targets deep in enemy territory.

During Phase 2, a global positioning system will be integrated with the Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) Bat, which will then undergo qualification testing for deployment from the Hunter. The P3I Bat, a planned block upgrade, adds advanced millimeter-wave radar and improved imaging IR sensors, providing a co-boresighted, dual-mode RF/IR seeker that works with the baseline acoustic sensors.

"By integrating the P3I Bat and Hunter systems, the Army will acquire the capability to locate, attack and destroy time-critical mobile and relocateable targets such as transporter erector missile launchers and mobile rocket launchers," said Emmitt Gibson, vice president of Precision Munitions at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector.

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.

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