PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 14, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The U.S. Navy announced today that the USS COLE was launched back into the water this morning at Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) here. The ship was launched a day earlier than previously scheduled at the company's Ingalls Operations.

The ship had been moved onto land in January into a construction bay near where the COLE was originally built by Northrop Grumman. The USS COLE, crippled in a terrorist attack in the Port of Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000, returned to her construction shipyard on the deck of the Norwegian heavy lift ship BLUE MARLIN last December.

Capt. Philip N. Johnson, USN, supervisor of Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, said that work to date aboard the USS COLE has consisted of more than 550 tons of steel structural repairs to replace the damaged area's exterior plating. He added that the relaunching of COLE represents completion of all structural repairs and restoration.

Other completed work includes the replacement of damaged and unserviceable equipment, and removal, evaluation and recertification of critical systems such as shafting and propellers. The repair process is moving along as scheduled.

"Since USS COLE's arrival, the dedicated Northrop Grumman craftsmen have expertly assessed and completed over 50 percent of the restoration," Capt. Johnson said. "They display immense national pride in the restoration of COLE."

Following the relaunch, work will be completed on component system assemblies, alignment of machinery, energizing, testing and alignment of all systems, and completion of logistics and supply support outfitting. USS COLE will then be turned over to the crew for training and recertification.

"The outstanding efforts of the SUPSHIP/Northrop Grumman team allowed the restoration of the USS COLE, The Determined Warrior, to occur in an expeditious manner," Capt. Johnson said, "and will allow COLE's return for duty to her homeport and with the fleet by April 2002."

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion, global aerospace and 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 non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

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  Contact: Bill Glenn
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