SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has signed a new U.S. Department of Defense mentor-protege agreement with the U.S. Air Force mentor-protege program office at Brooks City-Base, Texas.

The mentor-protege program encourages prime contractors to help small businesses increase their participation in federal subcontracts and establish long-term relationships with prime contractors. Northrop Grumman has participated in the mentor-protege program since 1992 and currently has 28 active mentor-protege agreements.

Under the latest agreement, Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector will provide assistance to Hi-Tech Electronic Manufacturing Inc. (Hi-TEM), a small, disadvantaged business located in San Diego, to enhance Hi-TEM's technical capabilities, business infrastructure and business development. Key tasks include developing lead-free manufacturing strategies, product flow and facility planning based on Lean Manufacturing principals, configuration-management processes, manufacturing process standards and documentation, and inventory management processes as well as parts tracking of diminishing manufacturing sources. These activities will improve Hi-TEM's viability and competitiveness.

"We look forward to a successful mentor-protege relationship with Hi-TEM and expanding Hi-TEM's subcontract opportunities on our F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-22 and Joint Tactical Radio System programs," said Judy Hertzberg, director of Radio Systems Supply Chain Management at Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "We recognize the value of this small business and are committed to the technology transfer from Northrop Grumman to help Hi-TEM become an even more valuable part of our supplier base."

Northrop Grumman will also work with Southwestern College in San Diego, which has a large minority enrollment, to address Hi-TEM's needs in several areas, including use of Lean techniques for greater manufacturing efficiencies and reducing costs.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from Northrop Grumman," said Thai Nguyen, chief executive officer of Hi-TEM. "Northrop Grumman is a highly respected defense contractor with a great deal of experience in continuous process improvement and cost reduction. We are moving to a nearby facility, so this presents the perfect opportunity to implement Lean and get a fresh start on our operations."

Hi-TEM provides electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers. The company offers system assembly and integration, electro-mechanical subassembly and complex printed-circuit-board assembly.

Southwestern College is the only institute of higher education located in the southern portion of San Diego County. Founded in 1961, Southwestern College is a public community college offers more than 285 associate degree and certificate options.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 125,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.