SAN DIEGO, Feb. 6, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) $16 million for two more MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical takeoff and landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (VTUAV) and to assist the Navy in refining the Fire Scout concept of operations. Including this award, the Navy has a total of nine Fire Scouts on contract with Northrop Grumman.

"With the addition of these two air vehicles, we will be able to complete operational test and evaluation as well as some spiral development preparations and test of future payloads," said Cmdr. Rob Murphy, the Navy's VTUAV Fire Scout program manager.

During concept of operations development, Northrop Grumman will work closely with the Navy to refine the system description, including core capabilities, and anticipated deployment and employment for the VTUAV system and other aviation assets aboard the Littoral Combat Ship. Operational requirements may include real-time video imagery collection, intelligence gathering, communications-relay capability, precision targeting and battle damage assessment.

System design work on the Fire Scout is performed at the Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. The Fire Scout is assembled at the Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss. Fire Scout is based on a commercial-off-the-shelf Schweizer 333 manned helicopter manufactured in Horseheads, N.Y. The baseline design has proven a highly reliable and effective platform with extensive operating history.

The MQ-8B successfully completed the first series of autonomous flight testing the third week of December at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The next two years of planned activity on this program include entering low-rate initial production, operational evaluation on a Littoral Combat Ship and operational capability in 2008.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 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:  Revelle Anderson
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-4405
          Revelle.anderson@ngc.com