HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 14, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Land Combat Systems business unit have announced the successful deployment of a recoverable Pre-Planned Product Improved (P3I) Bat submunition at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

This third of three successful flight tests conducted to date involving recoverable Bats was performed by the Army's Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems project office and Northrop Grumman to demonstrate the performance of the P3I Bat's dual-mode seeker against a number of benign stationary targets using the sensor's lookdown search mode.

"Preliminary postflight data analysis indicates that the P3I Bat achieved the key objectives of the test mission," said Emmitt Gibson, vice president of Precision Munitions at Northrop Grumman. "The submunition's dual-mode seeker successfully performed a stationary target attack flight profile, which put the expected number of targets clearly in the seeker's field of view. The Bat was also successful in demonstrating the navigation accuracy required for stationary target detection."

For the test, the Bat submunition was dispensed at a nominal tactical altitude from a Cessna aircraft. At the conclusion of the test mission, the recoverable Bat landed vertically on its tail spikes, as designed, with no damage to the dual-mode seeker. The seeker was immediately recovered for reuse on future flight tests.

Gibson acknowledged that several anomalies, most of which were minor in nature, were identified during the postflight data analysis. However, he said he expects that all of the anomalies, including one related to search ground acquisition algorithms, will be satisfactorily resolved before the next stationary target test set for mid-August at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Currently in low-rate initial production under contract to the Army at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., Bat is an autonomous submunition that uses a combination of passive acoustic and infrared sensors to seek, identify and destroy moving armored targets deep in enemy territory. After being dispensed from the Army Tactical Missile System Block II, the Bats deploy their aerodynamic surfaces, acoustically acquiring moving targets and maneuvering to the target area.

The P3I Bat, a planned block upgrade, adds advanced millimeter-wave radar and improved imaging IR sensors, providing a co-boresighted, dual-mode RF/IR seeker that works with the baseline acoustic sensors. The new seeker will expand Bat's engagement capability to include a wide range of both stationary and moving targets, particularly missile launchers. It will also improve Bat's performance in adverse weather conditions and against sophisticated countermeasures.

Northrop Grumman's Land Combat Systems is a business unit of the company's Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense electronics and systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, logistics systems and automation and information systems.

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