GILBERT, Ariz., May 7, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Spectrum Astro/Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) team displayed its innovative solutions while successfully completing the System Design Review (SDR) for the U.S. Air Force's Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Low program.

The completion of the SDR is the seventh key event in the 38-month Program Definition and Risk Reduction phase of the SBIRS Low contract awarded in August 1999. The team now moves to the next major milestone, the Preliminary Design Review (PDR), scheduled for early 2002.

More than 170 members of the U.S. Air Force and the missile defense technical and user community, which includes officials from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, National Security Agency and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, were briefed at Spectrum Astro's headquarters in Gilbert, Ariz., during the week of April 23.

During the SDR, the Spectrum Astro/Northrop Grumman team successfully demonstrated its ability to effectively transfer a set of defined requirements into the most cost-effective system design architecture capable of meeting the SBIRS Low mission user needs. The SDR highlighted the team's unique structure and demonstrated how its combined experience in integrated space systems, ground station development and innovative systems integration solutions enables the companies to efficiently map each operational requirement to a specific system design component.

"I am extremely delighted at the results of our System Design Review, specifically the government reviewer's response to our design concepts and performance estimates," said Scott Yeakel, Spectrum Astro vice president, SBIRS Low. "Our team has once again demonstrated that bringing together industry leaders, regardless of corporate size, with each member demonstrating complementary skills and technical expertise, is the future of the defense business and provides our nation with the most innovative space systems at the best value. Clearly we showed that we are one seamless team, working without barriers to develop this vital system for our future defenses against missile attacks."

With the completion of the SDR, the Spectrum Astro/Northrop Grumman team now concentrates on the detailed designs, analysis, design verifications and risk reduction events required for the PDR. As an integral part of the design effort, the team continues its focus on risk management and mitigation. This program addresses areas of technical and programmatic risk and performs hardware demonstrations and comprehensive modeling and simulation of the design architecture that will ultimately comprise the SBIRS Low system. This effort will ensure that SBIRS Low will be ready to launch in 2006 and play an important role in the U.S. missile defense system.

SBIRS, when deployed, will provide the nation with critical missile defense and warning capability well into the 21st century. SBIRS is intended to be an integrated "system of systems" that includes multiple space constellations and ground elements.

SBIRS Low is planned as a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit. Using the advantage of a lower operational altitude, SBIRS Low will provide acquisition and precise tracking of tactical and strategic ballistic missiles, improving the performance of ballistic missile defenses. SBIRS Low also provides critical data, supporting a variety of missions including missile warning, missile defense, battlespace characterization and technical intelligence.

As the prime contractor, Spectrum Astro leads the team's design effort and is responsible for the spacecraft and overall system architecture. Northrop Grumman leads the Mission Integrated Product Team that is responsible for the overall mission sensor design, related ground system data processing and ground segment integration. Northrop Grumman also supplies the infrared sensors for the SBIRS High program as part of the Lockheed Martin Corporation team.

Other team members include Litton TASC, Logicon, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin, Analex Corporation, ITT Industries and the Space Dynamics Laboratory of Utah State University.

Spectrum Astro is a privately held, rapidly growing high technology company, specializing in the design, development, integration, and test of high performance satellites, satellite systems, and related space based systems and subsystems for sophisticated defense, science and commercial opportunities. The company maintains its headquarters in Gilbert, Ariz., with additional offices in the Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, and Washington D.C. areas. For more information, visit Spectrum Astro's website:

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion, global aerospace and defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

Members of the news media may receive our releases via e-mail by registering at:

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at:

  CONTACT: Northrop Grumman 
         Debbi McCallam 
         (410) 765-1521

         Spectrum Astro
         Mike Greenwood
         (480) 892-8200