Cobham Tracking & Locating Ltd. announced earlier this week that its Burnside Industrial Park plant would be shut down by the end of the year. (CBC)

Cobham Tracking & Locating Ltd. is closing its Dartmouth plant by the end of the year, a move its parent company blames on a cut in U.S. government military spending.

Earlier this week, the company told its 55 employees at the Burnside Industrial Park location — which makes sophisticated GPS tracking devices used by the military and security agencies — that it was shutting down. A handful of employees may get work elsewhere in the system.

"To remain cost competitive, we need to cut our costs further in the tag, track and locate market," said Greg Caires, a spokesman for Cobham.

"Those are the products that are built in Dartmouth."

Cobham Tracking & Locating Ltd. — a subsidiary of Cobham PLC, a British defence contractor — announced last month it would be closing its plant in Windsor and transferring some of the 19 employees at that plant to the Dartmouth location.

Chuck Porter, the MLA for Hants West, said the closure is a "huge disappointment" to the area.

"I know a lot of the folks that worked here were planning on transferring to the Dartmouth location and some have gone before," he said.

"This will certainly be another blow yet to Windsor and West Hants."

Cobham Tracking & Locating Ltd. was formed through a merger of two Nova Scotia companies — Orion Electronics Ltd. and Seimac Ltd. — which Cobham bought for $14 million.

Caires said the company had met all the obligations of nearly $1.5 million in funding it had received from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency in 2006 and 2009.