REDONDO BEACH, Calif., June 11, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Air Force has exercised an option on its Alternate Infrared Satellite System (AIRSS) contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to move the program to a System Design Review (SDR) level of maturity. The option was exercised following a successful System Requirements Review.

Being developed for the nation's missile warning and missile defense system, the AIRSS program is emphasizing recently matured payload and spacecraft technologies not previously available to these missions.

The company will perform the engineering and analysis tasks necessary to reach the SDR maturity level under the option, which is valued at $8 million. The option is part of a $24.8 million contract awarded in December 2006 for the AIRSS system definition activities. This work is part of a broad-based AIRSS risk reduction effort that includes payload ground demonstrations and an eventual flight demonstration. These risk reduction activities are essential precursors to an eventual AIRSS engineering, manufacturing and development program.

"We are proud to be a part of the excellent progress the AIRSS program is making under the guidance of the U.S. Air Force," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "Our team's deep experience in missile warning and missile defense space systems will be vital to our successful execution of the contract option."

The primary mission of AIRSS will be to detect strategic and theater ballistic missiles in their launch and boost phases and transmit that data to ground stations in the U.S. and its allies. The AIRSS program will pursue a developmental approach with modest technical risks, according to the Air Force, and is projected to be available for launch as early as FY 2015.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Bob Bishop
          Northrop Grumman Space Technology
          310.812.5227
          310.251.0261 (cell)
          bob.j.bishop@ngc.com