REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Dec. 6, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and United Defense Industries, Inc. (NYSE:UDI) are teaming to provide the U.S. Army with first-of-their-kind, ground-based laser defense systems designed to protect U.S. soldiers against a variety of current and emerging threats.

The agreement combines Northrop Grumman's demonstrated leadership in high-energy laser systems with United Defense's extensive expertise in combat vehicle and armament systems integration, rapid prototyping, and manufacturing. Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector will lead the team as the developer of laser systems with United Defense integrating the technology on hybrid-electric drive combat vehicles produced by United Defense.

According to executives of both companies, the agreement recognizes that laser systems are becoming operationally feasible and that Directed Energy provides the Army with revolutionary systems and solutions for defense against rockets, artillery, mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles, among other potential threats.

"Laser technology is developing rapidly and operational demonstrations and systems will become reality in the near future," said Patrick Caruana, vice president of Space and Missile Defense for Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "Directed Energy systems like lasers offer many advantages and mission utility to Army operations. We have formed an outstanding team that's committed to supporting Army forces with speed-of-light technology."

"United Defense is pleased to team with Northrop Grumman to integrate this powerful capability into our hybrid-electric combat vehicles. Our combined experience makes this a superior team to provide enhanced force protection through premier Directed Energy systems that is unmatched by conventional weapons," said Keith Howe, vice president and general manager of United Defense's Armament Systems Division.

Northrop Grumman and United Defense are pursuing ground vehicle-based laser system demonstrations that will prove the effectiveness and utility of high-energy lasers against threats and will provide critical packaging and integration activities that will demonstrate the operational usefulness of these systems.

About Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman is developing high energy laser weapon systems for ground, sea, air and space applications, including the U.S. Army's Tactical High Energy Laser, which has shot down about three dozen targets, ranging from Katyusha rockets to artillery shells, large-caliber rockets and mortar threats. The company's Space Technology sector, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., develops a broad range of systems at the leading edge of space, defense and electronics technology. The sector creates products for U.S. military and civilian customers that contribute significantly to the nation's security and leadership in science and technology.

About United Defense

United Defense designs, develops and produces combat vehicles, artillery, naval guns, missile launchers and precision munitions used by the U.S. Department of Defense and allies worldwide, and provides non-nuclear ship repair, modernization and conversion to the U.S. Navy and other U.S. Government agencies. To learn more about United Defense, visit http://www.uniteddefense.com .

  CONTACT:  Bob Bishop 
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          (310) 812-5227
          bob.j.bishop@ngc.com

          Jeff Van Keuren
          United Defense
          (763) 572-7615
          jeff.van.keuren@udlp.com