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Raytheon Company (RTN - Analyst Report) announced mentor-protege agreements with small businesses, ISYS Technologies and Equipment Links, Inc. The agreements demonstrate Raytheon's commitment to helping small businesses gain contracting expertise and develop core competencies necessary for doing business with U.S. government customers.

Raytheon and ISYS Technologies signed a two-year U.S. Air Force-sponsored mentor-protege program agreement to work on several Raytheon programs. Headquartered in Littleton, Colorado, ISYS Technologies focuses on providing information technology and engineering services to government customers. As a protege, ISYS will leverage Raytheon's expertise and resources to enhance its cyber capabilities, including cybersecurity skills and certification. The companies will work together to deliver complex cybersecurity solutions for NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD).

Equipment Links, a veteran-owned small business, entered into a mentor-protege agreement with Raytheon. Based in Henderson, Nevada, Equipment Links provides asset management solutions, specializing in efficiency-driven reliability centered maintenance (RCM) processes. Equipment Links will help establish RCM processes across Raytheon's customer programs and also used for NASA, DoD and other federal civilian agencies.

Raytheon's IIS Supplier Diversity program strives to provide an inclusive environment to do business with small, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned (including service disabled veterans) and HUBZone businesses. The mentor-protege relationship connects large business, prime contractors with small businesses in a mutually beneficial agreement through the Supplier Diversity program. IIS currently has two other additional active mentor-protege programs, sponsored by the National Geospatial Agency.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Raytheon Company is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. The company provides high-tech electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services.
    
Raytheon is one of the best-positioned companies among the large-cap defense players due to its non-platform-centric focus, as well as its strong order bookings and order backlog of approximately $36.2 billion at the end of 2012.

Raytheon plays an important role in missile defense and is ideally positioned to help the U.S. and its allies achieve current and future missile defense goals. Given the declining trend in the U.S. defense spending, the company is one of the best-positioned companies among the large-cap defense players.

Revenue and earnings growth continue to be driven by a strong presence in the areas of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (“ISR”); air & missile defense systems; border security; air traffic management; training and homeland security; and cyber security. Also, its non-platform centric focus insulates it from cancellation or deferral of specific platform programs.

Looking forward, the company enjoys strong order bookings and order backlog, an improving balance sheet, and growing cash flow, besides operational improvements. Future growth will be driven by its focus on ISR unmanned systems, training, cyber security, Standard Missile-6, Patriot, Zumwalt and THAAD.

However, these positives are offset by apprehensions over the future growth of the U.S. defense budget, the fate of high-cost programs, risks related to key project executions and order cancellations. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other stocks to consider are The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report), Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT - Analyst Report), and FLIR Systems, Inc. (FLIR - Analyst Report) all of which presently carry a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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