BRUSSELS, Nov. 15, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Thales Group has joined the Trans-Atlantic Industrial Proposed Solution (TIPS) approach developed by three other international defense contractors to address the longstanding requirement for a NATO-owned and -operated Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability.

In addition to Thales, the team consists of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) Company, Galileo Avionica of Italy and Northrop Grumman ISS International. The TIPS team's solution will be considered at the upcoming NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government in Prague.

The four companies propose to share systems responsibilities in offering an AGS solution to NATO that would capitalize on the varied systems experience of each company.

All parties recognize Thales' involvement adds its considerable experience in ground surveillance programs and studies to the trans-Atlantic industrial effort that initially proposed TIPS earlier this year.

Together with NATO, the companies endeavor to develop a solution for an effective and affordable NATO AGS capability to meet the mandate for a 2010 initial operating capability and subsequently to build the complete system. The companies will continue to maintain constant dialogue with member nations to address national concerns such as platform and systems configuration and actively support the NATO AGS program.

The TIPS system of systems approach centers on a government-to-government cooperatively developed active electronically scanned array radar sensor, a watershed event in industrial cooperation and technology sharing, by capitalizing on technology developed in both the U.S. Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) and Europe's Stand-Off Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (SOSTAR-X) technology demonstrator program in which Thales; EADS; FIAR, a Galileo Avionica Company; Indra and Dutch Space are cooperating.

Thales is a world leader and front-runner in professional electronics in three key markets: Aerospace, Defense and Information Technology & Services. The Group employs 65,000 people in nearly 50 countries around the globe, and generated revenues of over Euro 10 billion in 2001, 75% of which came from international sales. Thales Airborne Systems Business Group is a European leader for airborne mission systems, airborne radars, missile electronics and airborne, naval & ground electronic warfare systems.

With revenues amounting to Euro 30.8 billion (2001) and more than 100,000 employees, EADS is the largest aerospace and defense company in Europe and number two worldwide. EADS business comprises a leading position in Europe in the field of airborne defense electronics as well as wide experience on system integration for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, general command, control and communications, commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, commercial launch vehicles, missile systems as well as satellites.

Galileo Avionica embodies the avionics and airborne radar capabilities of Finmeccanica, Italy's largest high technologies company and national defense leader.

Galileo Avionica offers systems integration capabilities and know-how, accumulated since the sixties through a process of rationalization and merging of Italian avionics systems and equipment companies.

Northrop Grumman ISS International, Inc., is a Northrop Grumman Corporation company. Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $17 billion, global 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 nuclear and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With nearly 96,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  News Media Contacts:
 EADS:  Lothar Belz, lothar.belz@sysde.eads.net, +49-731-392-3681
 Galileo Avionica:  Mirta de Benedictis, debenedictis@finmeccanica.it,
                    +39 (0) 64 1883719
 Thales:  Monique Navarra, monique.navarra@fr.thalesgroup.com,
          +33 (0) 1 34 81 40 50
 

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  CONTACT:  Jim Stratford
          (321) 726-7526