BALTIMORE, May 19, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Following a successful development and test phase, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Security Systems LLC unit a contract to manufacture and integrate biohazard detection systems (BDS) designed to rapidly analyze and detect potential biological threats at postal service mail-sorting facilities nationwide. The contract, which extends from January 2004 to October 2004, has a value of approximately $175 million.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor and systems integrator of the BDS, which uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to analyze air samples taken from mail sorting equipment. The system detects trace levels of DNA from anthrax spores and other biological agents as letters and packages are processed.

Team members involved in the preproduction phases included Smiths Detection, a subsidiary of London-based Smiths Group plc, which is the bio-suite, or sub-assembly, integrator; Cepheid, Sunnyvale, Calif., which developed the PCR technology; Sceptor Industries, Kansas City, Mo., which provides the particle collection and air sampling instrumentation and technology; and MDCI, Inc., Doylestown, Pa., providing the Cartridge Handling System, allowing automatic handling of the test cartridges without the operator's direct contact.

"Northrop Grumman has been a major supplier to the USPS for its mail automation program since 1989," said Dave Tilles, Northrop Grumman's BDS program manager. "This contract continues that relationship and represents the culmination of research, development, testing and implementation by Northrop Grumman in cooperation with the USPS as we work together to meet this national security issue and provide technologically advanced, cost-effective postal automation solutions to postal customers."

Northrop Grumman's Security Systems unit is part of the Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronics and systems including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, air traffic control systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services.

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