NEWPORT NEWS, Va., Feb. 3, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) unveiled its new Aviation Ship Integration Center (ASIC) during a dedication ceremony today. This state-of-the-art research facility was established in partnership with the U.S. Navy to conduct modeling, simulation, research, development and in-depth analysis for CVN 21-class aircraft carriers and other aviation-capable ships.

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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) was the keynote speaker for the event and spoke about the importance of maintaining a technology lead over other countries and other navies. "We've got to be faster, smarter and have greater capabilities than ever before," he said. "This one-of-a-kind, high-tech facility takes us a giant step closer to that goal."

Two sailors from the USS Carl Vinson, a carrier currently in the company's Newport News shipyard undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul, signaled the start of the ceremonial dedication by ringing a ship's bell followed by a traditional playing of a bosun's pipe.

Rebekah Dailey, Aviation Maintenance Administration airman, rang the original ship's bell from Ranger, the first ship designed and built as a carrier from the keel up and launched by Newport News Shipbuilding in 1933. John F. Singleton, chief warrant officer, then sounded the bosun's pipe as ceremony participants unveiled a specially designed mural depicting the history of carrier aviation dedicated to the men and women who serve America.

Other ceremony participants included Mike Petters, president of Northrop Grumman Newport News; Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Va.); Brian J. Persons, executive director, Program Executive Office, aircraft carriers; Vice Adm. Mark P. Fitzgerald, commander second feet, commander striking fleet Atlantic; Joe Frank, mayor, City of Newport News; and Northrop Grumman Newport News employees.

"We applaud your facility, and we look forward to using it," said Fitzgerald. "I think the fleet will be the better for it."

ASIC is located in the Herbert H. Bateman Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding and Carrier Integration Center and is comprised of two laboratories called SimLab and FlexLab.

SimLab is a 9,000 square-foot laboratory that houses a modeling and simulation facility, an integration facility for validation of new concepts and designs, and a collaboration center for government and industry partners.

FlexLab is a 2,400 square-foot laboratory that houses a full-scale mock-up of a portion of the warfare command and decision center for the next-generation aircraft carrier class, CVN 21. Newport News engineers, designers and technologists will use FlexLab to investigate, prototype, test and validate current and emerging technologies which provide the capability to rapidly reconfigure the decision centers.

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.