ICAP-III Program Enters New Phase as Northrop Grumman Begins Upgrading First EA-6B Prowler Test Aircaft

BETHPAGE, N.Y., Nov. 3, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Increased Capability-III (ICAP-III) program that will upgrade EA-6B Prowlers to defeat the next generation of missile and electronic threats has entered a new phase with the induction of the first test aircraft by Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems Sector (ISS).

Under this development program valued at approximately $200 million, the first refurbished aircraft is expected to fly in mid-2001. The upgrade could lead to a conversion program for the entire U.S. Navy Prowler fleet of 124 EA-6B's, which is the only electronic attack aircraft in the U.S. inventory.

ICAP-III will upgrade the Prowler's weapon system in several areas with the most significant change being the addition of a new reactive jamming capability to meet the emerging threat of 21st century warfare.

"ICAP-III is not a Prowler-only upgrade," said John Young, vice president and integrated product team leader for Electronic Warfare Programs in the Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare (AEW&EW) Systems business unit. "ICAP-III performance serves as the baseline for the next system that will take the place of today's EA-6B."

The Department of Defense is currently conducting an Analysis of Alternatives that will, by the fall of 2001, identify which platform or platforms will best replace the EA-6B Prowlers when these venerable aircraft are retired in the 2015 time frame.

The plane recently inducted is one of two test aircraft being modified. A second will begin the modification process later this year and will fly in late 2001. Initial operational capability for the fleet is slated for 2005.

Operated by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, some of which include Air Force personnel, EA-6B's support joint and coalition operations worldwide. Prowlers were heavily used during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo, helping to ensure that no allied pilots were lost during the operation.

Engineering and system development work is being spearheaded by the ISS AEW&EW Systems business area headquarters in Bethpage, with software being developed in conjunction with the Navy at the AEW&EW Systems facility in Pt. Mugu, Calif. Key teammates for ICAP-III weapon system development are: Litton Advanced Systems Division, College Park, Md.; Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company, Nashua, N.H.; and Northrop Grumman's newly acquired Comptek PRB Associates, Hollywood, Md., and Camarillo, Calif., a business area of Comptek Research Inc., which Northrop Grumman recently acquired. AEW&EW Systems in St. Augustine, Fla., will modify test and fleet aircraft following approval for production.

Northrop Grumman's ISS, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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