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Northrop Grumman Demonstrates "HURT" Low-Cost Autonomous Control System for U.S. Army Reconnaissance Aircraft

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 14, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully shown how its low-cost, autonomous control system can manage a variety of U.S. Army reconnaissance aircraft to deliver timely information about enemy positions to troops on the ground.

Northrop Grumman is developing the "HURT" system in a program managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory serves as the technical and contracting agent.

HURT, which stands for Heterogeneous Unmanned Reconnaissance Team, allows ground forces to receive video surveillance imagery of the surrounding area and request specific information about suspected enemy positions on user-friendly touch screens. The system autonomously processes multiple requests and directs the most suitable aircraft to take a closer look.

The latest exercise -- the third demonstration of the HURT system's capabilities -- was conducted April 9-24, 2007, at Fort Hunter Liggett, an Army training installation near King City, Calif. Northrop Grumman showed how HURT can control combinations of manned and unmanned aircraft already in the service inventory to send essential tactical data in real time to soldiers equipped with handheld computers.

The demonstration was performed with the cooperation of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Some aircraft were supplied by the Army's Aviation and Missile Command. Other key members of the HURT demonstration team include AeroVironment, Dynamic Aviation, Honeywell Laboratories, Insitu Inc., Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Sarnoff Corporation and Teknowledge Corporation.

Building upon the success of the previous demonstrations, the latest exercise showed HURT's ability to simultaneously control three "tiers" of reconnaissance aircraft. Aircraft in Tier I flew as high as 6,000 feet and scanned areas as far away as 100 miles from the combat area; those in Tier II flew at 2,000 feet and covered areas approximately 50 miles away, and those in Tier III flew as low as 100 feet over the immediate combat zone.

Using a software interface, HURT links a variety of different aerial platforms to build a unified picture of the combat area for the warfighters' use. Aircraft used in the demonstration were a manned C-12 aircraft in Tier I; ScanEagle and Hunter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Tier II, and Pointer, Raven and Wasp UAVs in Tier III.

"HURT offers a low-cost way to link many dissimilar platforms into one seamless reconnaissance team without modifying either the UAVs or their ground control stations," said Tom Williams, vice president of Advanced Concepts and Integrated Solutions for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "To this point, HURT technologies have been focused on military missions, but they have potentially broader use in applications such as border patrol and law enforcement."

Previous demonstrations showed how HURT could control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect and deliver real-time surveillance information to ground forces in urban combat zones. In fall 2006, U.S. Marines used HURT's capabilities during urban warfare training exercises at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. The system was initially demonstrated in 2005 at the former site of George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif.

HURT is another example of Northrop Grumman's world-class systems integration capabilities that enable a variety of military users to exchange real-time information on tactical, ad-hoc networks.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT:  Jim Hart
          (310) 331-3616

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