Lockheed Martin Corp.'s acquisition of Nantero's government business unit will add to the defense contractor's growing nanotechnology research and development efforts, said Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of Lockheed's Space Systems Business Area, when the deal was announced Aug. 13.

"Lockheed Martin is already a leader in the research, development and application of nanotechnology to future military and intelligence applications," said Maguire in a statement. "This transaction represents a solid strategic fit. It provides an important set of capabilities and will accelerate our product applications, enabling us to offer a broader portfolio of solutions to our customers, and to enhance shareholder value."

Lockheed Martin purchased the privately held maker of nanotechnology-enabled devices used in semiconductor fabrication for an undisclosed amount. Nantero Inc.'s government business unit is developing nanotechnology-enabled devices, such as sensors, for use in military applications.

The potential benefits of nanotechnology in the defense industry include stronger, lighter and less-expensive materials and enhanced protection for military personnel, according to Lockheed Martin.