updated 5/18/2011 8:17:23 AM ET 2011-05-18T12:17:23

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., May 18, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been selected to develop a new type of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) gyroscope technology for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Microscale Rate Integrating Gyroscope program.

The MEMS technology developed by Northrop Grumman and Georgia Tech during the initial 12-month award period will form the basis for a micro resonator gyro capable of achieving navigation grade performance. Utilizing a new MEMS fabrication process, the Northrop Grumman-led team will produce a proof-of-concept micro gyro that can perform as well as current silicon MEMS devices in a smaller size, lighter weight and lower power package.

"The new micro-fabrication process that Northrop Grumman and Georgia Tech are developing for this program is truly groundbreaking," said Charles Volk, vice president and chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "It will enable us to move navigation technology forward by creating miniature gyros which can be utilized on a variety of applications, from unmanned vehicles to hand-held devices."

DARPA's Microscale Rate Integrating Gyroscope program seeks to develop miniature navigation grade gyros for use in personal navigation, unmanned vehicle navigation, GPS denied/challenged locations, and other size and power constrained applications requiring precision navigation. Northrop Grumman, in partnership with Georgia Tech, was awarded a research and development contract for the preliminary design, development and testing of micro-resonator devices.

"The Northrop Grumman and Georgia Tech team will advance the frontier of micro- and nano-fabrication, enabling the extreme miniaturization of highly stable navigation devices, with small energy dissipation," said Farrokh Ayazi, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Georgia Tech. Dr. Ayazi is a principal investigator for this project and serves as co-director for ECE's Center for MEMS and Microsystems Technology.

Northrop Grumman offers its customers more than 50 years of navigation experience and produces navigation products utilizing a range of technologies including fiber-optic gyro-based systems, Northrop Grumman's exclusive hemispherical resonator gyro, unique ZLG™ gyros, spinning mass gyros, ring laser gyros and micro-electro-mechanical-system gyros.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech's more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

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

CONTACT: Gina Piellusch
         (818) 715-2285
         gina.piellusch@ngc.com

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