SAN DIEGO, March 19, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Radar will be incorporated onto Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV). The Navy has decided to commit funds in 2009 to develop a radar capability on Fire Scout.

Northrop Grumman first demonstrated radar capability on the RQ-8A Fire Scout in 2003 using a General Atomics Lynx Radar. That demonstration carried both radar and an electro-optical/infrared system. The same demonstration will take place on the MQ-8B Fire Scout this year on a company-owned Fire Scout using a non-developmental Telephonics RDR-1700B maritime surveillance and imaging radar.

The purpose of the demonstration is to show enhanced Fire Scout operational utility while confirming the assessment of a need for radar. Radar would not only benefit the U.S. Navy, but would also be beneficial to other services interested in Fire Scout.

"We are thrilled to be able to move forward with the implementation of radar on the Fire Scout because it will ultimately bring another capability to the warfighter. Radar will also maximize the use of the Fire Scout's Modular Payload Architecture that allows true 'plug and play' capability," said Doug Fronius, program director for Northrop Grumman's Integrated System's Fire Scout VTUAV program. "The radar demonstration will pave the way for the Navy's radar program because the Navy will be able to use and leverage information learned from Northrop Grumman's effort in its program.

The radar demonstration program will follow a rigorous systems engineering process to ensure success. Radar integration and installation will take place at Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Development Centers in San Diego, Calif. and in Moss Point, Miss. Demonstration flights will be conducted at Webster Field, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. or Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.

Fire Scout is currently in advanced stages of testing at Webster Field, Patuxent River, Md., conducting envelope expansion, software validation, payload integration and data link testing. According to the current U.S. Navy schedule, the Navy will conduct Technical Evaluation on the Fire Scout in the fall of 2008 and Operational Evaluation (OpEval) in the spring of 2009. The Fire Scout will reach Initial Operating Capability soon after OpEval in 2009.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 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:  Rene Freeland
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-7606