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Northrop Grumman to Provide Improved Compass for U.S. Marine Corps Laser Target Rangefinders

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., May 18, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected by the Naval Surface Warfare Center to provide the U.S. Marine Corps with an innovative gyroscope-based non-magnetic compass designed to augment laser target rangefinders used by Marine Corps forward observers and forward air controllers.

Forward observers and forward air controllers are teams of Marines who scan the battlefield for unusual activity and act as the "eyes" of artillery batteries or attack aircraft. They operate from concealed locations, provide target coordinates and report the results of bombardments using equipment that includes laser target rangefinders and global positioning systems.

The Northrop Grumman system being provided under this development contract provides more precise compass readings than electromagnetic compasses and is not affected by magnetic fields, which increases the accuracy and dependability of the target location information the rangefinder provides. The system can easily be retrofitted to current laser rangefinders. It is a follow-on contract to a successful concept development phase now being completed by the company's Navigation Systems Division.

"The miniature azimuth gyrocompass unit works near vehicles, in buildings and in other areas with high magnetic fields -- areas where conventional electromagnetic compass-based targeting systems can be compromised," said Tony Matthews, an engineering consultant at Northrop Grumman and developer of the miniature azimuth gyrocompass unit. "The miniature unit simplifies calibration, reduces setup time and is designed to limit operator exposure to enemy detection and fire."

"The miniature unit offers tactical and strategic forces a state-of-the-art precision targeting solution that can be employed in air, ground and naval roles," said Jim Reeves, manager of Situational Awareness Systems at Northrop Grumman. "It is adaptable to varied devices and is modular for ease of application. Additional designs are being developed for use in 'on-the-move' targeting scenarios."

A digital data interface allows it to replace electromagnetic compasses currently part of the target rangefinders and provides reference data to the eyepiece display on the laser rangefinder. The miniature unit can also communicate with other equipment such as handheld computers and global positioning system (GPS) receivers. The miniature unit also features a small display that allows the operator to read target information while remaining concealed from enemy fire.

The miniature unit uses a Northrop Grumman G-2000 spinning mass gyroscope and miniature accelerometers to detect compass heading, bank and tilt readings, allowing a rangefinder equipped with the miniature unit to be held by hand.

The G-2000 is a gyroscope used in environments that are subjected to extremely high shock forces. This rugged miniature gyroscope, which is also low-cost and low-power, has been in production since 1992. More than 15,000 have been delivered to U.S. and international customers who use it for missile and torpedo guidance and for antennae and radar stabilization. It can be supplied with a variety of analog and digital servo electronic cards, which support low-cost multi-gyroscope guidance systems using the G-2000 gyroscope.

Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division, part of Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, supplies situational-awareness products for international and domestic defense and commercial markets and offers integrated avionics, navigation and positioning systems for space and high-value platform products, navigation-grade and tactical-grade inertial systems, fiber-optic gyro systems designed to customer requirements, underwater fiber-optic sensors, identification friend-or-foe transponders and interrogators, cockpit displays and computers, and logistic support products and services.

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: http://www.northropgrumman.com. Information specific to the Electronic Systems sector is available at: http://www.es.northropgrumman.com/index.html

CONTACT: Don Barteld
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
(818) 712-6179

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