MELBOURNE, Fla., Aug. 20, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) KC-30 Tanker's fly-by-wire boom has completed more than 130 hours of evaluations during 50 flights, demonstrating the maturity of the world's most advanced military aerial refueling system.

Integrated on an A310 test-bed aircraft, the Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) being developed by Northrop Grumman's teammate EADS has been tested throughout the full operating envelope.

"Our team and our tanker offers the U.S. Air Force the lowest amount of risk with the greatest amount of capability," said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman's vice president and general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program. "By leveraging the best technology available in a global marketplace -- like this boom system -- we're ready to provide proven capabilities now."

In addition, ground-based tests with the ARBS have validated its fuel offload capability, as well as the system's resistance to the buildup of electrostatic charge.

The A310 demonstrator aircraft is now ready for its next phase of ARBS flight tests, which will involve in-flight contacts and airborne fuel transfers with a variety of receiver aircraft.

The ARBS is the most modern boom in operation today, and delivers a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 gallons per minute. It features an automatic load alleviation system that provides a large refueling envelope and enhanced controllability, which greatly aid the boom operator and the receiving aircraft's pilot during refueling operations. The boom's all-electric design significantly reduces traditional failure rates and subsequent down time.

Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker is fitted with a centerline-mounted ARBS and hose and drogue unit, along with two underwing hose and drogue refueling pods. This enables the KC-30 Tanker to refuel a full range of U.S. and NATO military aircraft. The KC-30's hose and drogue system is already flying on U.S. Air Force, German Air Force, and Canadian Air Force tankers.

The KC-30 Tanker aircraft is based on the EADS A330 Multi-role Tanker Transport, which was selected to support the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. The first Australian Air Force KC-30B is executing a rigorous flight test program with all refueling systems installed on the aircraft.

The KC-30 Tanker aircraft will be assembled in Mobile, Ala., and employ 25,000 American workers at 230 U.S. companies. It will be built by a world-class industrial team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes EADS North America, General Electric Aviation and Sargent Fletcher.

About the KC-30: Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000 more pounds of fuel than a KC-135 or any competitor, providing a significant boost to the U.S. Air Force's global reach. The KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition aircraft, and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move passengers, cargo and medical evacuation patients. The KC-30 incorporates defense systems, precision fly-by-wire technology, and the ability to integrate a militarized communications suite and a global support network.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Randy Belote
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (703) 875-8525

          Tim Paynter
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (321) 961-1101