SAN DIEGO, March 3, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully demonstrated the ability to release a weapon from a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) demonstrator during flight-testing conducted Feb. 24 over Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The drop of the 500-pound inert weapon from Proteus, the manned UAV surrogate developed by Scaled Composites, Mojave, Calif., is the latest in a series of company-funded activities focused on addressing the U.S. Department of Defense's expanding medium-altitude endurance UAV requirements. It also supports an on-going, Northrop Grumman-funded effort to develop a new multi-mission MALE UAV dubbed Model 395. Based on Proteus, Model 395 will be able to perform a variety of missions ranging from traditional intelligence gathering to weapons delivery.

"Today's test was flawless," said Steve True, Northrop Grumman's Model 395 test director. "It was the culmination of a rapid prototyping process that allowed us to define and conduct risk reduction, proof-of-concept testing for a new weapons delivery concept in just over 30 days. Exceptional support from the Air Force's UAV Battlelab at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nev., the 98th Range Wing at Nellis, and EDO Corporation, developer of the weapon release system, also proved instrumental in allowing us to meet a very ambitious schedule.

"The weapons drop is the first of several demonstrations the company has planned to exercise and highlight Model 395's ability to fulfill a variety of special customer mission requirements," True added. The next flight demonstration is planned for later this year.

"The jet-powered Model 395 is a cost-effective, multi-role, multi-mission UAV with the right altitude, speed, endurance and payload capacity to perform tasks that span our customers' air operations," said Chris Hernandez, vice president and general manager of the company's Unmanned Systems unit. "In the hunter-killer role, it can carry multi-spectral sensors to detect and track targets and myriad munitions to destroy those targets."

According to Hernandez, the Model 395 system will also extend the reach of air commanders by providing tailored support to ground forces in near-real time in almost any combat situation. A family of modular payloads will allow it to be optimized quickly for a variety of missions including signals intelligence, psychological operations, communications relay and area surveillance.

In addition to its 900-pound internal payload capacity, Model 395 will be able to carry external payloads of up to 6,500 pounds. It also has more than 100 cubic feet of unused internal volume.

Model 395 is the latest addition to Northrop Grumman's portfolio of UAVs. It rounds out a capability spectrum that includes the high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawk aerial reconnaissance system; the medium altitude endurance Hunter II; its shorter-range, lower-altitude RQ-5 Hunter tactical UAV; and the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical UAV.

Model 395 builds upon investments by both the Department of Defense and Northrop Grumman for development systems that include the joint DARPA, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS), the U.S. Army's Fire Scout Class IV UAV for the Future Combat System, the advanced vehicle management system and future UAV ground control elements.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use in networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

  CONTACT: 
Cynthia Curiel
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
(858) 618-4355
cynthia.curiel@ngc.com