updated 9/9/2010 12:15:49 AM ET 2010-09-09T04:15:49

BETHPAGE, N.Y., Sept. 8, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marc DeBlasio, director of the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mission Package Integrator program, was named chairman of NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) 150 for Modularity. The committee is staffed by 29 industry and government professionals from nine nations.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://media.globenewswire.com/noc/mediagallery.html?pkgid=7970

The purpose of NIAG 150 is to lay out an architecture for the design, installation and operation of modular mission equipment packages for humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR), antipiracy and harbor defense missions. NATO's goal is to develop and build mission packages, similar in concept to what the U.S. Navy is doing for its Littoral Combat Ship, which would be used aboard multinational LPDs (Amphibious Transport Dock), its Joint Support or equivalent ships.

"This is an exciting challenge for me and all the members of my committee," said DeBlasio. "We have an opportunity to maximize and modernize the capabilities of NATO sea forces for some of the most important missions they are tasked to address."           

The committee will deliver its final report in June 2011.  The report will evaluate modular mission package concepts and interchangeability requirements for the three missions. The evaluation will include identifying design standards, mission package loading and unloading requirements and the comparison of various module, ship interface, life-cycle, labor and other costs with those of mission-dedicated ships.

DeBlasio currently leads the Northrop Grumman team that is tasked with integrating the LCS mission modules with their various components and the ships themselves. The prototypes of three mission packages have been designed and built by U.S. Navy laboratories. Northrop Grumman is preparing to produce the future production mission packages. 

DeBlasio was chosen for the NATO post because of the success of his LCS mission package team. The team has met all design and delivery schedule milestones, and successfully installed the mission package computing environments and multivehicle communications systems into the two Littoral Combat Ships, the USS Freedom and the USS Independence. The USS Freedom has been conducting sea trials with the Surface Warfare mission package. 

The Northrop Grumman team also helped the U.S. Navy establish its mission package support facility at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif. 

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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