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QinetiQ, the privatised government defence labs, is buying US defence firm Foster-Miller for £91.8m($163m). The two firms have been working together on a bomb disposal robot.

QinetiQ has been looking closely at around 60 firms after considering 1,000 US targets for acquistion, according to the FT. Foster-Miller is its first US buy. The firm is expected to make more US acquisitions to improve access to the world's largest military market. QinetiQ made sales of $40m in the US last year. Plans for a share float have been put back at least a year while the firm increases its US presence.

Dr David Anderson, president and CEO of QinetiQ's US subsidiary, said: "Strategically, the acquisition of Foster-Miller will be key to achieving QinetiQ’s goal of growing our US business significantly. Foster-Miller is a remarkable fit with QinetiQ, both technologically and culturally."

Dr William Ribich, president and CEO of Foster-Miller, also welcomed the deal: "The skill sets of our two companies are uniquely complementary.This is a partnership where the whole really will be greater than the sum of its parts. Separately, we are leaders in a number of technologies. Together, we can be world-beating."

Foster-Miller will continue to trade under its own name, but as a subsidiary of QinetiQ North America. It is the world's largest supplier of add-on armour for military transport planes and its TALON robots have carried out 10,000 bomb disposal missions in Iraq. ®

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