updated 10/19/2010 8:16:00 AM ET 2010-10-19T12:16:00

BETHPAGE, N.Y., Oct. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received a $45 million contract from the U.S. Navy for Phase 3 of low-rate initial production of the AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). The contract includes the production of four pods, spares, product development and support at a lower cost-per-pod than in previous lots.

The ALMDS pod is mounted on an MH-60S helicopter. Flying over sea lanes, it spots mines with its pulsed laser light and streak tube receivers by imaging, in 3-D, day or night, the near-surface of the ocean.

The company has delivered five pods to date. The Navy is performing the Developmental Flight Test-IIE (DT-IIE) program from its Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division site in Florida. These tests lead towards Operational Evaluation and the full-rate production decision next year.

"What's critical to the warfighter is the performance of the system. We are confident that DT-IIE results will prove the unique threat detection value and performance of our ALMDS," says Northrop Grumman's Dan Chang, vice president of Maritime and Tactical Systems. "What's critical to the Defense Department is getting great value for their investments. Because of the hard work of our ALMDS contractor team, we were able to reduce the per-pod price by several percent, enabling the Navy to procure one additional pod system over and above the Phase 2 lot buy."

This effort follows in the footsteps of the team's previous program success: delivering all three Phase 2 pods ahead of schedule.

The Northrop Grumman ALMDS team comprises Arete Associates, Tucson, Ariz., which manufactures the Receiver Sensor Assembly; Cutting Edge Optronics, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary in St. Charles, Mo., which manufactures the high-powered laser transmitter; CPI Aero, Edgewood, N.Y., manufacturer of the pod housing; Curtiss Wright/DY4, San Diego, manufacturer of the central electronics chassis; and Meggitt Defense Systems, Irvine, Calif., which produces the environmental control system.

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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