Aerospace and defence engineer Meggitt has said it is buying US-based Firearms Training Systems for $144 million (£76.1 million).

Meggitt - the parent of Dunlop Braking Systems, which has a plant in Coventry and a test facility in Birmingham - plans to integrate FTS into its Meggitt Defence Systems division.

The move would significantly increase product range, improve access to export markets and provide savings primarily by integration with Meggitt's live fire training systems business, the company believes.

FTS provides arms training simulations covering a wide range of weapons fire training situations, including small arms, air defence, anti-armour, vehicle/vessel mounted and air support.

The Georgia-based group has branch offices in Australia, Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands and the UK and has sold about 5,200 training systems in more than 50 countries.

For the year ending on March 31, it had sales of $78.6 million (£41.57 million), an operating profit of $8.8 million (£4.65 million) after non-recurring expenses estimated at $3.1 million (£1.63 million) and gross assets of $53.7 million (£28.4 million).

Its ordinary shareholders will receive $1.08 (57p) in cash for each FTS ordinary share they own, representing a premium of about 35 per cent over the closing share price on August 23 and amounting to a total equity value of $86.1 million (£45.5 million).

Meggitt expects to complete the deal, which is subject to US regulatory approval, in the fourth quarter of 2006 and to fund it from existing resources.

Chief executive Terry Twigger said it was in line with the group's strategy of buying complementary businesses.

He said: "FTS' leading position in the rapidly growing market for simulation training significantly enhances Meggitt's existing live fire training portfolio and the prospects are exciting."

Sharesclosed up 0.5p at 297.