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Naval Composite Ship Program Moves Ahead

The Visby-class corvette built by Kockums AB is the first naval vessel to feature fully developed stealth technology. Northrop Grumman Corporation, Kockums and its parent company Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG, have signed a cooperative agreement under which Kockums will join a team assembled by Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector to compete for the U.S. Navy's Focused Mission Vessel Study.
Paris - Oct 23, 2002
Northrop Grumman Corporation announced Tuesday that it has signed a cooperative agreement with Kockums AB and its parent company, Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), under which Kockums will join a team assembled by Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector to compete for the U.S. Navy's Focused Mission Vessel Study.

This study is expected to result in the development and construction of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), one element of the DD(X) family of surface combatants planned for construction by the Navy during the next quarter century.

The cooperative agreement between Northrop Grumman, Kockums and HDW covers business opportunities for the design, development, construction and sale of Visby-class ships and/or derivative technology to the U.S. government for the LCS and other U.S. programs, and for sales to friendly international governments through the Foreign Military Sales program.

This is an exclusive agreement between the parties that, subject to Swedish government approval, allows Northrop Grumman and the U.S. government to take full advantage of more than seven years of Swedish investment in developing an all-composite, corvette-sized, monohull ship.

This leading-edge vessel technology combines unique stealth, speed, modularity and survivability characteristics in a way that will revolutionize the effectiveness of small ships in littoral warfare and on other missions. Kockums has designed and built the first Visby-class corvette, which is presently undergoing combat systems installation and sea trials. Early indications are that the ship will meet or exceed expectations in every area.

"Northrop Grumman is pleased and fortunate to bring Kockums' experience into our preparation for these major competitions and programs," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector.

"Their proven experience in design and production of composite hull combatants is a perfect complement to our own surface combatant experience, which includes production of composite ship sections as well."

Northrop Grumman plans to use the Visby as the baseline for development of Ship Systems' proposal for the Navy's LCS program.

Combining the proven hull and composite technology developed by Kockums with Northrop Grumman's composite and overall ship integration experience will allow the Navy to rely upon a proven, full-service shipbuilder, with access to state-of-the-art fielded technology, for the LCS program.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems leads an international industrial team that won a competition for a $2.9 billion (U.S.) program in April 2002 to complete the system design for the Navy's advanced, 21st century surface combatant, DD(X).

This family of ships includes destroyers, cruisers and littoral combat ships, as well as technology to be backfitted into the Navy's existing fleets of Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers.

In June 2002, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, partnered with Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems sector, won an $11 billion (U.S.) contract to recapitalize and modernize the U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater surface, air and shore assets. This program includes two classes of new cutters to be produced by Ship Systems, as well as the modernization of existing vessels.

"Both of these vital programs stand to benefit from Northrop Grumman's ground-breaking partnership with Kockums," Dur said.

Kockums will contribute its experience in the design and construction of stealth-optimized naval vessels utilizing carbon fiber composite technology. In the past few years, Kockums and HDW have engaged in developing a vessel of this type for the export market.

Kockums' role as a member of the Northrop Grumman team will be to share its experience in building composite-hull vessels.

"It is a great achievement to be included in the Northrop Grumman team, and it demonstrates that we are a frontrunner in the field of stealth and composite technology. I am convinced that we can offer Northrop Grumman Ship Systems considerable experience and know-how," noted Kockums' Chief Executive Officer Martin Hagbyhn.

In Sweden, Kockums has received an order for five Visby-class composite hull surface combatants, with an option on a sixth vessel.

These corvettes are stealthy, multimission vessels equipped to handle mine clearance, ASW, surface combat, marine surveillance and vessel protection duties, and to provide civil support in connection with marine accidents and international operations.

They are constructed of carbon fiber, the first of the series having been released to the Swedish Defence Material Administration, and which has already completed a number of trials with excellent results. The advantages this stealth technology brings to littoral-type surface combatant ships are significant.

Kockums stands for leading-edge, world-class naval technology - above and below the surface. Kockums designs, builds and maintains submarines and naval systems that incorporate the most advanced stealth technology.

Other successful products include the Stirling Air Independent Propulsion system, submarine rescue systems and mine clearance systems. The Submarine Division is based in Malmö and the Surface Vessel Division, including all production facilities, in Karlskrona. Kockums has 1,200 employees in Sweden, and is part of the German HDW Group.

Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; and in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan.

The sector, which currently employs more than 17,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

Building upon its long history of new construction work for the Navy, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems is also a participant in the international shipbuilding and ship overhaul markets, including the production of a series of vessels for the Israeli navy. This program, to design and build three 1,320-tonne corvette size ships, resulted in the world's first surface combatant to be totally designed in three-dimensional Computer-Aided Design. All three ships are now successfully deployed and operational.

Today, Ship Systems' family of international combatant ship designs includes a 62m Multimission Fast Missile Craft, a 62m Customs Patrol Ship, an 85m Customs Patrol Ship, an 85m/88m Corvette, a 130m Frigate, and a 150m/180m Multipurpose Amphibian.

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