APOPKA, Fla., Nov. 8, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- In a major show of support for a critical combat system, the U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) a contract for the company's battle-proven Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder (LLDR).

The $15 million contract will fund LLDR upgrades for all shipments after 2009 as the Army continues to purchase and upgrade its premier dismounted electro-optic sensor from Northrop Grumman.

The Lightweight Laser Designator Rangefinder has been an essential piece of warfighting equipment in the U.S. Army's inventory. To make this highly effective equipment even more capable on the battlefield, the U.S. Army is funding system improvements that include decreasing system weight, increasing its ability to operate in low visibility conditions and replacing components no longer supported by vendors.

Weight is an issue with any man-transportable system and making a system lighter is a top priority. Through a number of innovations, the improved LLDR's overall weight will be reduced by nearly five pounds. The improved night vision capability will increase the stand-off distance and thus the survivability of forward observers and forward air controllers. In addition, by addressing several parts-obsolescence issues, warfighters will have access to state-of-the-art electro-optic sensor equipment.

"These improvements to the LLDR represent a significant leap in capability while reducing the overall weight," said Gregory Williams, general manager of the company's Laser Systems business unit. "Giving our customer more capability in a smaller package has been a true technological feat. Our designers and engineers have used leading-edge technology to give our warfighters exactly what they want...an even smaller and better system than what they are currently using."

Northrop Grumman's LLDR accurately targets enemy positions during the day, at night and in nearly all battlefield conditions including haze, smoke, fog and rain. It ranges to the targets at an eye-safe wavelength and calculates grid coordinates with built-in GPS, elevation and azimuth sensing capabilities. The system then provides this information to other digital battlefield systems. The LLDR can also be used with semi-active laser-guided munitions and laser spot trackers.

The system has been used in Afghanistan and Iraq to provide targeting information for laser-guided, GPS-guided and conventional munitions. As Williams pointed out, "Army Forward Observers have used the LLDR with extraordinary success in 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 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  CONTACT:  Ellen Hamilton
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems 
          (224) 625-4693
          ellen.hamilton@ngc.com