Seventh Navy Sealift Ship to be Christened BENAVIDEZ at Northrop Grumman's Avondale Shipyard

 1AVONDALE, La., July9, 2001 (PRIMEZONE) -- The seventh and final Strategic Sealift ship in the BOB HOPE Class will be christened BENAVIDEZ in ceremonies at the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) Avondale shipyard at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 21, 2001.

The new ship will be named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez, who is credited with saving the lives of at least eight men during the Vietnam War while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, U.S. Army.

Vice Adm. Gordon S. Holder, U.S. Navy, Commander, Military Sealift Command, will deliver the principal address. Hilaria Benavidez, widow of the ship's namesake, is the ship's sponsor and will christen the ship.

Other speakers expected to deliver remarks at the christening are: Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Privratsky, U.S. Army, Commander, Military Traffic Management Command; Rear Adm. Dennis G. Morral, U.S. Navy, Program Executive Officer for Expeditionary Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command; and Capt. David J. Vogel, U.S. Navy, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, New Orleans, La.

"Avondale is proud to be christening another fine Navy ship and is proud of the great workmanship and teamwork that went into building it," said Avondale President Thomas M. Kitchen. "We are also pleased and honored to have the Benavidez family with us for this event, which honors the memory of Master Sgt. Benavidez and his heroic actions in defense of our great country."

BENAVIDEZ, a non-combatant vessel, is a large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off (LMSR) Sealift ship that will be crewed by civilian mariners and operated under contract to the Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C. The LMSR ships are ideal for loading military combat and combat support equipment needed overseas and for re-supplying necessary equipment and supplies during national crisis. The ship's six-deck interior has a cargo capacity of approximately 400,000 square feet and its roll-on/roll-off design makes it ideal for transporting helicopters, tanks and other wheeled and tracked military vehicles. Two 110-ton single pedestal twin cranes make it possible to load and unload cargo where shoreside infrastructure is limited or non-existent. A commercial helicopter deck enables emergency, daytime landings.

BENAVIDEZ, along with the other BOB HOPE Class Sealift ships, will support the nation's ability to deploy military equipment and supplies quickly to U.S. troops around the world. Throughout the sprawling deck areas, the ships are capable of carrying up to 1,000 military vehicles, along with containers and other cargo, to provide prepositioning and surge sealift capacity to contingency areas worldwide.

Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., includes Ingalls and the Ship Systems Full Service Center, both located in Pascagoula, as well as Avondale Industries, located in New Orleans, La. Ship Systems, 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. Ship Systems has a firm business backlog exceeding $5.6 billion, in a variety of naval and commercial shipbuilding programs.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $15 billion, global aerospace and defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With 80,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

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CONTACT:  Northrop Grumman Corporation, Avondale
          Ed Winter
          (504) 436-5253

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