Ball Aerospace Delivers 500 Tactical Fast Steering Mirrors for Guardian Program

December 09, 2008

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has delivered 500 Tactical Fast Steering Mirrors (TFSMs) to Northrop Grumman Corporation for the Guardian™ Miniature Pointer Tracker Program, with an additional 300 units currently in production.


Fast steering mirror technology is used to compensate for jitter in adaptive optics systems. The Ball Aerospace-provided TFSMs for the Northrop Grumman Guardian™ System rely on technology refined since the company first began design and development in 1983 of one-off, custom fast steering mirrors (FSMs).

The Guardian™ System is a defensive aid utilizing fielded military technology to defend against the threat posed by MANPADS - anti-aircraft, shoulder-fired missiles. Currently in operation with the armed forces of the United States and allied powers, the autonomous system is also of interest to the Department of Homeland Security to protect U.S. commercial aircraft from terrorist attack. Upon detection of a launched missile, the system directs a safe, non-visible laser to the seeker head of the incoming missile, disrupting its guidance signal and diverting its flight path.

"For the past 25 years, Ball Aerospace has diligently advanced its proven technology for TFSMs and is proud to have been selected to provide Northrop Grumman's Guardian program with a design that helps protect the war-fighter, enhances our country's security and may someday protect America's flying public," said Jeff Osterkamp, Vice President for Ball's national defense business execution unit.

Ball began delivering TFSMs to Northrop Grumman's Guardian program in 2004. Ball's mechanism design differs from other technologies due to its unique suspension which provides two-axis rotation about the front surface of the mirror. In addition, the ruggedized TFSM is also lightweight for optimal performance and adapted for tactical environments.

Ball Aerospace has designed and produced more than 50 unique FSM designs in the past 25 years incorporating a range of substrate materials and technologies. The mirrors' responsiveness and high accuracy have made them a key component for numerous applications such as laser communications, astronomical telescopes, Earth-observation surveillance satellites, gimbaled sensors and high-energy laser systems.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. Since 1956, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and is a technology innovator in aerospace.

Ball Corporation is a supplier of high-quality metal and plastic packaging products for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2007 sales of $7.4 billion.

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains "forward-looking" statements concerning future events and financial performance. Words such as "expects," "anticipates," "estimates" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Key risks and uncertainties are summarized in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Exhibit 99.2 in our Form 10-K, which are available at our Web site and at Factors that might affect our packaging segments include fluctuation in product demand and preferences; availability and cost of raw materials, including recent significant increases in resin, steel, aluminum and energy costs, and the ability to pass such increases on to customers; competitive packaging availability, pricing and substitution; changes in climate and weather; crop yields; competitive activity; failure to achieve anticipated productivity improvements or production cost reductions, including our beverage can end project; mandatory deposit or other restrictive packaging laws; changes in major customer or supplier contracts or loss of a major customer or supplier; and changes in foreign exchange rates, tax rates and activities of foreign subsidiaries. Factors that might affect our aerospace segment include: funding, authorization, availability and returns of government and commercial contracts; and delays, extensions and technical uncertainties affecting segment contracts. Factors that might affect the company as a whole include those listed plus: accounting changes; changes in senior management; the current global credit squeeze and its effects on liquidity, credit risk, asset values and the economy; successful or unsuccessful acquisitions, joint ventures or divestitures; integration of recently acquired businesses; regulatory action or laws including tax, environmental, health and workplace safety, including in respect of chemicals or substances used in raw materials or in the manufacturing process; governmental investigations; technological developments and innovations; goodwill impairment; antitrust, patent and other litigation; strikes; labor cost changes; rates of return projected and earned on assets of the company's defined benefit retirement plans; pension changes; reduced cash flow; interest rates affecting our debt; and changes to unaudited results due to statutory audits or other effects.

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SOURCE: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

CONTACT: Roz Brown of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.,