Utah Manufacturing Ltd. has been awarded a $350,000 contract from Hill Air Force Base as part of a national program to aid small, disadvantaged businesses, officials have announced.

The company, established on the Uintah-Ouray Indian Reservation in February, will be sharpening drill bits for the northern Utah air base.The contract was awarded in line with a Department of Defense program to award 5 percent of all defense contracts to disadvantaged businesses.

Operations Manager Brian Hinck said the company will sharpen 1.6 million drill bits at a rate of 10,000 per day.

The company has grown from two employees to 50 in less than six months, and company officials expect to employ 300 within 21/2 years.

More than 75 percent of the workers are members of the Ute Indian Tribe, and the company now holds nearly $2 million in government and commercial contracts.