MELBOURNE, Fla., May 19, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received a final $113 million increment of a $257 million contract for production of the 17th E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft.

The contract includes funding to establish postproduction planning and support after the completion of the final aircraft. Delivery of the 17th E-8C Joint STARS to the U.S. Air Force is scheduled for March 2005.

"Since this contract award coincides with the successful conclusion of Operation Iraqi Freedom, we have already begun writing the next chapter in the Joint STARS program history," said Alan Doshier, sector vice president for Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management (AGS&BM) Systems. "Northrop Grumman is very proud of the recent operational performance of Joint STARS, and we will be actively involved with our Air Force customers in translating the lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom into improved surveillance and battle management capabilities for the future.

"Joint STARS is receiving strong support for continued system improvements including modern high-efficiency engines, enhanced moving target identification, and improved sensor-to-shooter communications," said Doshier. "Each of these upgrades will further increase the operational effectiveness of the nation's premier airborne ground surveillance and battle management weapon system."

This will be the seventh aircraft produced in the Block 20 configuration, which contains commercial-off-the-shelf computing and data processing capability. This technology provides the Air Force with increased performance and reliability in addition to a major increase in future growth capacity for onboard battle management, all at a lower cost per aircraft.

Joint STARS offers battlefield commanders real-time situational information, while simultaneously transmitting target locations to aircraft and ground strike forces. Joint STARS is the only platform in the U.S. arsenal that combines accurate wide-area moving-target detection with synthetic aperture radar imagery to locate, classify and track ground targets in all weather conditions from standoff distances.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector is the prime contractor for the E-8C Joint STARS. Norden Systems, a unit of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, manufactures the Joint STARS radar sensor.

Airframe refurbishment and modification take place at Integrated Systems' AGS&BM facility in Lake Charles, La. The Joint STARS radar and the computer systems are installed in Melbourne, and the production aircraft are delivered to the 116th Air Control Wing (ACW) at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., following ground and flight testing. Northrop Grumman also provides integrated logistics support to the 116th ACW under a total system support responsibility (TSSR) contract. The TSSR effort is a unique partnership between the company and the Air Force to provide the most efficient support to the E-8C Joint STARS fleet, maximizing operational availability and mission reliability.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, one of Northrop Grumman's seven sectors, is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., the organization designs, develops, produces and supports integrated systems, platforms and subsystems, and provides mission support services for U.S. government, civil and international customers. Integrated Systems' products and services meet military and homeland security requirements that support critical intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance; battle management command & control; precision strike; and readiness & support missions from sea to space.

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