PASCAGOULA, Miss., April 19, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Navy today awarded a $1.37 billion construction contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to construct the eighth ship of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships. Construction of LHD 8 is expected to begin in May 2003 at Ingalls Operations, which is part of Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector.

This contract includes $360 million previously awarded for advance work on the ship, including design, equipment procurement and fabricating selected ship assemblies. Ingalls has delivered seven LHDs into the fleet, the most recent being USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), which was commissioned in June 2001.

"This LHD 8 contract award is great news for our company and our Ship Systems sector," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, president of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "Our engineers have been preparing for this work since the advance design contract was awarded in July 2000. This new ship will be the most advanced LHD in the fleet, with major enhancements that will provide an improved platform to support the Navy-Marine Corps team in the defense of our interests and our freedom."

The most significant enhancement for LHD 8 will be the introduction of gas turbine propulsion, replacing classical steam propulsion in previous ships of the class. The challenge for the propulsion system design team has been the upgrading of specifications to include two 35,000 horsepower turbines, which will be the largest ever in U.S. military marine applications.

Other major enhancements include a controllable pitch propeller, allowing the ship to change speeds through the adjustment of propeller blade pitch. Also, a reverse osmosis system will be installed for the ship's water supply. The ship will have six diesel-electric generators and will use a new zonal system to distribute electrical power.

As the "big-deck" centerpiece of a Navy/Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group, LHDs embark, transport, deploy, command and fully support a marine expeditionary unit, and will carry some 2,000 Marines to world trouble spots. The ships are fully capable of amphibious assault, advance force and special purpose operations, as well as noncombatant evacuation and other humanitarian missions.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems has more than a quarter of a century of experience in building big-deck amphibious assault ships for the Navy at its Ingalls Operations. Since 1975, the company has delivered five LHA ships (LHA 1 through LHA 5) and seven LHD ships (LHD 1 through LHD 7).

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., includes facilities in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., as well as New Orleans and Tallulah, La. The sector, which currently employs more than 17,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is an $18 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 100,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

  CONTACT:  Jim McIngvale
          Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
          (228) 935-3971