REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Aug. 28, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Army has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the first phase of a program to demonstrate the maturity of all enabling technologies for a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system mounted on a ground vehicle.

Called the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD), the Army's goal for the system is to demonstrate the capability to effectively counter rockets, artillery and mortars (counter-RAM) in a relevant environment at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF) at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. If deployed, HEL TD could support the transition to an Army acquisition program.

Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector received a one-year, $8 million contract with options for a total value of nearly $50 million over three years from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala. Under the phase one contract, Northrop Grumman will develop a preliminary design for a ruggedized beam control subsystem on a tactical vehicle.

"Northrop Grumman is the industry leader in solid-state high-energy lasers with a long legacy of system experience that can reduce risk and cost -- and we have the only team that has successfully shot down, in flight, the full spectrum of threats," said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector. "Our continuing investments in high-energy lasers, facilities, system models and concepts of operation clearly demonstrate our strong commitment to bringing mobile laser weapon systems to the warfighter."

"Through these shoot downs, many of the key features of HEL TD were demonstrated, in hardware, by the Northrop Grumman-led team," said Dan Wildt, director for Northrop Grumman's Directed Energy Systems. "We are the only ones who have successfully built and tested a counter-RAM laser beam control system and integrated it with a command and control system to detect, track and destroy incoming threats in flight. These accomplishments include hand-off from an acquisition radar, passive and active tracking of targets, aim-point maintenance and predictive avoidance."

"Through these precursor programs, our HEL TD team has uniquely demonstrated the ground-based, high-energy laser weapon system and mission domain knowledge required by the Army to execute this program efficiently," Wildt continued. "Coupled with current achievements in solid-state laser technology development, Northrop Grumman provides a low-risk approach using mature technology for HEL TD."

The HEL TD team led by Northrop Grumman consists of BAE Systems, Ball Aerospace & Technologies, and L3 Com Brashears. Northrop Grumman will provide systems engineering, system integration, the beam control subsystem, the power subsystem, the thermal subsystem and C3I. BAE Systems will provide the vehicle and platform integration; Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will supply beam alignment and stabilization systems; and L3 Com Brashears will supply the beam director.

Northrop Grumman has been a leader in developing and demonstrating high-energy lasers for more than 30 years. An online press kit with more information about Northrop Grumman's high-energy, solid-state laser capabilities is available at http://www.st.northropgrumman.com/media/presskits/directed_energy_systems/press_kit.html

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion 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: Erika Raney
         Northrop Grumman Space Technology
         (310) 812-2535
         erika.raney@ngc.com