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Monday, September 04, 2006

Northrop Grumman Plays Key Role in Successful Missile Defense Intercept Test

04 September 2006

Northrop Grumman Corporation\'s fire control and launch control equipment software, developed for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency\'s (MDA) ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system, successfully performed today during MDA\'s Flight Test 2, where the interceptor successfully tracked and subsequently destroyed the target warhead over the Pacific Ocean. These software systems play a pivotal role in launching the system\'s ground-based interceptor and orchestrating the overall engagement sequence.

Northrop Grumman\'s Mission Systems sector is responsible for designing and deploying key components of the GMD system, including the GMD Fire Control (GFC), In-flight Interceptor Communications System Data Terminal (IDT), Communications Network Equipment (CNE), Network System Manager (NSM), and Command Launch Equipment (CLE) software, all under contract to The Boeing Company.

The test involved launching a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) against a target missile launched from Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska. While the primary objectives of the test were to demonstrate and evaluate the interceptor launch and to characterize the end-game performance of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle as it approached the target, the interceptor intercepted the target. Successfully exercising the fire control and launch operations procedures was critical to the test\'s success.

"Once again, the outstanding execution of Northrop Grumman\'s software and hardware products played a pivotal role in the successful direction of the kill vehicle to its intended target," said Frank Moore, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Missile Defense Division. "I am proud of our team\'s dedicated efforts and ability to continually meet the challenges of one of the most formidable missions in the Department of Defense. We remain committed to MDA\'s mission, and look forward to continuing our support of the testing, deployment and sustainment of this critical missile defense capability."

The GFC products orchestrate the components of the GMD element of the nation\'s midcourse missile defense program and provide critical targeting data that guide ground-based interceptors until their on-board sensors acquire their targets. The system\'s software coordinates sensor and interceptor operations during flight and provides vital decision-support information to combatant commanders.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems personnel in Huntsville, Ala., develop the GMD products, with additional development sites in Colorado Springs, Colo., Melbourne, Fla., and Anaheim, Calif. More than 600 people are employed on this project at these four locations. Northrop Grumman\'s GFC products have performed successfully in every GMD flight test to date and were recognized in 2003 and 2005 with a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level 5 rating from the Software Engineering Institute for best practices in software development and systems engineering.

As a primary supplier of missile defense technology, Northrop Grumman plays a key role in all phases of our nation\'s layered missile defense system. Northrop Grumman\'s domain expertise delivers essential capabilities and technologies that integrate functions across all elements of the ballistic missile defense system. Programs such as the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, Space Tracking and Surveillance System, Joint National Integration Center, the chemical laser portion of the Airborne Laser, and the fire control capability for the Ground-based Midcourse System are just a few of the contributions the company is making to the nation\'s missile defense efforts.
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