PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 10, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Patrick Stillman, program executive officer for the Integrated Deepwater System, said the first Maritime Security Cutter, Large (WMSL 750) which began construction yesterday at Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) shipyard will permit the Coast Guard "to attend to the national security efforts with rigor and diligence that far exceeds the capability and capacity of your Coast Guard today."

Northrop Grumman, in partnership with Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), began construction at the company's Ship Systems sector in front of more than 200 guests. This event celebrated the start of a new fleet of Coast Guard cutters and the nation's renewed investments in homeland security, two days before the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"This ship will be complemented by an air and deployable surface package that will extend the flexibility, agility and tactical capability of the command cadre of this vessel in ways and forms that we have yet to truly realize," Stillman added.

Stillman called the efforts of the Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin-led Integrated Coast Guard Systems industry team "valuable partners ... a key driver behind the Deepwater Program's success. The 'Three P's'," he continued, "people, performance and partnership, have been a key element of our successes thus far, and of those to come."

The ship represents the first major multi-mission cutter to be introduced to the Coast Guard in the past 25 years. The production contract, valued at $250 million, was awarded to ICGS this summer.

"As 'America's Shipbuilder,' Northrop Grumman has envisioned what the Coast Guard desires, and we have willed that imagination into the design of fast, capable vessels," said Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "What remains is the creation of what we have willed. This is a day of great beginnings. This ship is engineered to a degree that is unprecedented at the start of construction. We have all the material we need to build it out on hand, and we have, without question, the right management team, the right waterfront leadership, and the unqualified commitment to, 'do it right the first time, on time, every time.'"

Dur continued with a statement from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, that read, "Modernizing the assets and capabilities of the U.S. Coast Guard will help to meet its future missions and ensure maritime safety and security."

The Ship Systems sector leads the construction effort as a major partner in Integrated Coast Guard Systems. Following the start of construction, the keel laying is scheduled in April 2005. The anticipated delivery date for the lead ship is the second quarter of 2007.

The WMSL will be a 421-foot vessel with a 4,112-ton displacement at full load, when delivered, and will be powered by a twin-screw combined diesel and gas turbine power propulsion plant designed to cruise at a maximum speed of 28 knots. The cutter will include an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid-hull inflatable boats, a flight deck to accommodate a range of rotary wing manned and unmanned aircraft and state-of-the-art command-and-control electronics.

Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) is a critical multi-year, multi-billion-dollar program to modernize and replace the Coast Guard's aging ships and aircraft, and improve command and control and logistics systems. It is the largest recapitalization effort in the history of the Coast Guard. When complete, the interoperable IDS system will include three classes of new cutters and their associated small boats, a new fixed-wing manned aircraft fleet, a combination of new and upgraded helicopters, and both cutter-based and land-based unmanned aerial vehicles. All of these highly capable assets are linked with command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, and are supported by a new and far-reaching integrated logistics system.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems is one of the nation's leading full-service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life-cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

  CONTACT:   Bill Glenn
           Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
           (228) 935-3972
           william.glenn@ngc.com