Smiths Group Plc agreed to buy the explosives-detection arm of jet-engine maker Safran SA amid heightened demand for automated systems that can help prevent terrorist attacks on airports and other infrastructure. Smiths will buy Morpho Detection of Newark, California, in a deal valued at $710 million, the London-based company said in a statement Thursday.

Morpho, whose technology is employed at border points, nuclear power stations, military installations and government buildings, will be combined with Smiths’s own detection unit, which specializes in systems that identify chemical agents, radioactive materials and contraband, as well as explosives.

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