NEWPORT NEWS, Va, May 19, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Shipbuilding sector reached an important construction milestone May 18 when it completed the final hull welds of the Virginia-class submarine New Mexico (SSN 779). This accomplishment, known as "pressure hull complete," signifies the hull sections being joined to form a single unit. It is the last major milestone before the ship's christening later this year at the company's Newport News, Va. facilities.

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, a newly-formed sector of Northrop Grumman, combined the former Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and Newport News shipbuilding sectors.

"Pressure hull completion is a major milestone in the shipbuilding process. She's starting to take shape now - it's a significant accomplishment and a proud occasion for all the folks who are constructing New Mexico," said Becky Stewart, vice president of submarine program for Northrop Grumman. "We're on track to deliver the ship eight months ahead of schedule. That's a testament to our shipbuilders who have taken ownership of our goals and are involved in process improvements, which allow us to meet our quality, cost and schedule commitments."

New Mexico, the sixth ship of the Virginia class, is named for "The Land of Enchantment." Upon delivery to the Navy in 2009, it will be the most modern and sophisticated attack submarine in the world, providing undersea supremacy well into the 21st century.

Northrop Grumman is teamed with General Dynamics Electric Boat to build the first 10 ships of the Virginia class. Current plans call for 30 Virginia-class submarines in the fleet. Designed to meet the Navy's requirements in a post-Cold War security environment, the submarines use advanced technologies to increase firepower, maneuverability and stealth. The 377-foot long submarines are capable of submerged speeds of more than 25 knots and can stay submerged for months at a time.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a 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:  Bryan Moore
          Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding
          (757) 688-4607