Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Raytheon Co. and Phoenix Products, Inc. signed a $1.6 million contract Tuesday with the U.S. Navy to produce strike missile transport containers as part of the Pentagon's mentor-protege program.
PPI, which is a female-owned, small business based in McKee, Ky., has partnered with Raytheon in the program that provides large businesses with incentives to help smaller ones become more competitive with Department of Defense programs.
In the past five years, 190 small businesses have been awarded more than $5.4 billion in contracts, "to fill unique niches and become part of the military's supply chain," according to the Pentagon's Office of Small Business Programs.
"Raytheon is partnering with small and disadvantaged businesses to help them succeed and contribute to our industry," Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Air Warfare Systems' vice president, said in a statement Tuesday. "NSM production is bringing jobs and revenue to a growing network of U.S. suppliers, and it is all the more meaningful when the work makes a significant impact in a local community. It's a win for everyone."
In May 2018, Raytheon was awarded a U.S. Navy contract to manufacture and deliver the weapon system for the Navy's littoral combat ships and future frigates. The long-range, precision strike missiles can detect and destroy heavily defended land and sea targets at ranges in excess of 100 nautical miles. The missile system was designed by Norway's Kongsberg.
Raytheon and Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., will train and support PPI in technical, quality and management processes.
PPI is located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone in Kentucky and has been in operation since 1973, according to its website. The company's experience manufacturing similar containers is an ideal fit for Raytheon's latest production needs, according to Raytheon.
"The program will enable PPI to take the next steps to be a fully capable aerospace container and ground support equipment manufacturer," PPI President Tom Wilson said. "It will help ensure we continue to employ highly capable people and train local residents with significant skill sets for now and in the future."
The three-year agreement is beneficial for all parties, said U.S. Rep Hal Rogers, R-Ky., a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
"This partnership demonstrates the continued commitment of the defense industry to reach out to new and innovative suppliers in Kentucky to meet its requirements," Rogers said in a statement. "I advocated on behalf of the mentor-protege agreement with the Navy and look forward to the 5th Congressional District being a long-term partner on this advanced cruise missile program."