POPLAR, Mont., Dec. 5, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Electronic Systems sector and A&S Tribal Industries, Inc. (ASTI) have announced the formation of a new defense electronics manufacturing partnership under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense's Mentor-Protege program.

Established in 1975, A&S Tribal Industries is a U.S. government certified small disadvantaged business owned by the Fort Peck Tribes. Located in Poplar, Mont., ASTI has 72 employees engaged in metal parts fabrication, tooling and assembly work.

Northrop Grumman has mentored small companies under the Defense Department's Mentor-Protege program since 1992 and currently has over 20 active mentor-protege agreements across the corporation.

Under this latest agreement, Northrop Grumman will provide engineering, manufacturing and business management training and development support to ASTI, while the two firms work together to identify opportunities to utilize ASTI's manufacturing expertise to support Northrop Grumman's current and future procurement needs.

"We look forward to leveraging ASTI's extensive experience as a Defense Department supplier to become a valued contributor of a wide range of manufactured materials and components for our various defense electronics and systems," said Katie Gray, vice president of Procurement and Materials for the Electronic Systems sector. "Northrop Grumman has a proud history of mentoring small companies, both informally and formally, through programs sponsored by various U.S. government agencies."

In a recent ceremony at Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, officials of Northrop Grumman and ASTI signed a formal mentor-protege agreement, witnessed by Montana Gov. Judy Martz and Fort Peck Tribal Chairman Arlyn Headdress. Katie Gray represented Northrop Grumman and Leonard Smith, chief executive officer, represented ASTI.

Established in 1991, the Department of Defense Mentor-Protege program provides large, prime contractors incentives to assist small disadvantaged businesses in enhancing their capabilities; increase the overall participation of small disadvantaged businesses in the procurement process; and foster long-term business relationships between small disadvantaged businesses and prime contractors.

"This mentor-protege agreement represents a 'win-win-win' for the Department of Defense, Northrop Grumman and A&S Tribal Industries," said Smith. "The U.S. government can be assured of receiving top-value, top-quality products from the partnership forged by Northrop Grumman and ASTI. The benefits to the Montana economy will also be significant in terms of developing and growing high-quality manufacturing jobs as well as increasing business prospects for ASTI and other area companies."

Northrop Grumman officials said they plan to work closely with Fort Peck Community College to develop a training curriculum intended to enhance the skills and capabilities of ASTI employees. Technical training internships at various Electronic Systems sector facilities are also planned for select ASTI personnel.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, headquartered in Baltimore, Md., is a world leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of defense and commercial electronics and systems including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space systems, marine and naval systems, government systems and logistics services.

Members of the news media may receive our releases via e-mail by registering at: http://www.northropgrumman.com/cgi-bin/regist_form.cgi

LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: http://www.northropgrumman.com . Information specific to the Electronic Systems sector is available at: http://www.es.northropgrumman.com/index.html

  CONTACT:  Jack Martin Jr.
          Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems
          (410) 765-4441