NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 3, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) successfully redelivered the nation's newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), to the U.S. Navy after a post shakedown availability (PSA).

The Ronald Reagan returned to the company's Newport News sector shipyard in December for the PSA, a typical availability in the early life of a carrier that allows the Navy and Newport News team to resolve any items that came up during early cruises and make any last-minute changes and upgrades. Work performed under this contract is valued at $53 million and included upgrades for the new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Other changes included a third physical fitness center for sailors, combat system and radar equipment upgrades, and minor repairs.

"The completion of this work symbolizes a new chapter in the life of the Ronald Reagan," said Bob Gunter, senior vice president of Aircraft Carrier Programs, Northrop Grumman Newport News. "Hundreds of shipbuilders worked hand-in-hand with Ronald Reagan sailors to make this PSA a success, bringing this great ship one step closer to her voyage home to the West Coast."

"The PSA was a tremendous success for both the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard workers and the Ronald Reagan crew," said Captain Jim Symonds, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer. "The work that was poured into this carrier, preparing it for a lifetime at sea, is a testament to the quality of people that make up the Northrop Grumman Newport News team. It will be put to the test later this month as we say farewell to the Hampton Roads area and sail around South America to bring this great ship to our new homeport in San Diego."

Named after America's 40th president, Ronald Reagan is the ninth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier built by Northrop Grumman Newport News. It towers 20 stories above the waterline, and at 1,092 feet long, is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall. The ship displaces approximately 95,000 tons of water when afloat. USS Ronald Reagan was christened in March 2001 and delivered to the Navy in June 2003.

Northrop Grumman Newport News, headquartered in Newport News, Va., is the nation's sole designer, builder, and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear powered submarines. Newport News also provides after-market services for a wide array of naval and commercial vessels. The Newport News sector employs about 19,000 people.

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Jerri Fuller Dickseski (757) 380-2341
Jennifer Dellapenta (757) 380-3558
Northrop Grumman Newport News