updated 12/7/2010 1:45:37 PM ET 2010-12-07T18:45:37

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Dec. 7, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) Demonstration program satellites, built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), detected the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sept. 17 and tracked it through the boost and post-boost phases for the first time.

The single reentry test vehicle from the missile traveled approximately 5,300 miles to a pre-determined point about 200 miles southwest of Guam, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The missile defense satellites transmitted tracking data to the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., where the information is being analyzed.          

"STSS acquired the target during the boost phase and continued to track post-boost using multiple track sensor infrared bands for the first time," said Doug Young, vice president of missile defense and missile warning programs for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "This test demonstrated the ability of STSS to track cold-body objects post-boost, an important capability needed by the Missile Defense Agency for the Ballistic Missile Defense System."

Earlier in September, STSS successfully autonomously acquired and tracked a threat representative short range ballistic missile that was launched during an MDA test involving the Airborne Laser Test Bed.

The MDA is pursuing the STSS Demonstration program as a space-based sensor component of the BMDS. The satellites are demonstrating the ability of space sensors to provide high-precision, real-time tracking of missiles and midcourse objects, enabling simultaneous theatre, regional, and strategic missile defense.

Data from STSS testing is validating the ability to acquire and track missiles in all phases of flight, to close the fire control loop with BMDS interceptors from space and supporting the development of a future operational missile defense satellite constellation.

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.

CONTACT:  Bob Bishop
          Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
          310.812.5227
          Cell: 310.251.0261
          bob.j.bishop@ngc.com

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