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WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2007 – The Pentagon is awaiting results of an Air Force investigation into the alleged improper transfer of weapons by air from a base in North Dakota to a Louisiana military installation last week.

News reports say several nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were mistakenly attached to the wing of a B-52 bomber, which then flew for more than three hours across several states. Media reports state the aircrew did not know nuclear weapons were aboard.

“The Air Force is currently investigating an error made last Thursday in the transfer of munitions … from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base aboard a B-52 Stratofortress,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters at a news conference here yesterday.

However, citing long-standing Defense Department policy, Morrell did not confirm nuclear weapons were involved in the incident.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates “was quickly informed” of the Aug. 30 incident, Morrell said. He added that Gates has been getting daily briefings from senior Air Force leaders on the progress of the investigation.

The incident was of sufficient importance “that President Bush was notified of it,” Morrell said.

Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force’s chief of staff, has assured Gates that the munitions in question were under proper supervision at all times and that “at no time was the public in danger,” Morrell reported.

He said he wasn’t aware if any disciplinary action was taken against Air Force personnel as a result of the incident.

The Air Force’s investigative report of the incident should be delivered to Gates “by the end of next week,” Morrell said.

NORFOLK, Virginia - BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by Maersk Line, Limited for the drydocking and preservation of the USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317), one of nineteen Military Sealift Command (MSC) Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off (LMSR) Ships. The 55-day work package will begin in mid-September and is valued at $9.3 million, not including options. All work will take place at BAE Systems Ship Repair in Norfolk.

BAE Systems will conduct drydocking and underwater work on the Soderman, including maintenance and repairs to propulsion systems and machinery, and preservation of the vessel's hull, tanks and topside areas.

Additionally, the contract includes ship security upgrades, ship-specific voyage repairs and general maintenance and repairs to machinery, valves, pumps, and structural components, along with electrical and piping systems.

The Soderman, which Maersk Line, Limited operates for MSC, is the fourth MSC ship BAE Systems Ship Repair has worked on since May. Repairs on the USNS Arctic, MSC's fast combat support ship, and USNS Kanawha, a fleet replenishment oiler, are currently ongoing. The vessels are due to depart the shipyard in September and October respectively. The company also completed the overhaul of another MSC LMSR, USNS Brittin, in July.

"Maersk's confidence in our services is a testament to our workforce's ability to deliver, time and again," said Al Krekich, president, BAE Systems Ship Repair. "Our partnership represents the best in joint commercial support to the operation and maintenance of these important Military Sealift Command vessels."

LMSRs are among the largest cargo ships in the world and can carry up to 380,000 square feet of combat cargo -- the equivalent of more than six football fields of wheeled and tracked vehicles -- at speeds up to 24 knots. They are equipped with on-board ramps and cranes to assist in loading oversized cargo including helicopters, M1A1 tanks and Bradley Combat Systems vehicles.

BAE Systems Ship Repair is the United States' leading non-nuclear ship repair, modernization and conversion company - focused on dry dock and ship repair services for the U.S. Navy, other defense agencies and commercial customers. It has major operations in Norfolk, San Diego, San Francisco and Hawaii.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defense and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. BAE Systems, with 96,000 employees worldwide, had 2006 sales that exceeded $27 billion on a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings, Inc. for the whole of 2006.

For further information, please contact:
John Kowalczyk, BAE Systems
Tel:+1 757 494 2977 Mobile:+1 757 717 8391

Shannon Smith, BAE Systems
Tel: +1 703 907 8257 Mobile: +1 703 967 3854

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