iRobot, the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of robots for military and domestic use, is shutting down its maritime drones operation in Durham as part of a corporate restructuring.

Some 30 people will lose their jobs, the company said Wednesday.

The roots of the Durham office can be traded to Nekton Research, a developer of unmanned underwater robot technology, which iRobot acquired in 2008.

The deal included a cash payment of $10 million and as much as $5 million more based on business and financial milestones. 

Faculty members at Duke University founded Nekton.

Nekton customers included several U.S. military clients – the Office of Naval Research, Naval Undersea Warfare Command, Naval Air Systems Command and the U.S. Special Operations Command – as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.

Among maritime robots made by iRobots (Nasdaq: IRBT) is the Seaglider, which the company says on its website “is revolutionizing ocean data collection. Seaglider collects data, gathers surveillance and performs a variety of other subsurface missions for oceanographers, maritime researchers and military planners at government and research institutions worldwide.”

In all, 80 people are being laid off, iRobot said.

The company cited decreased government military spending as the reason for the cuts.

iRobot has some 600 employees. 

“Due to the current defense spending environment and expectations for decreased spending in 2013, iRobot is implementing a broad restructuring of the business,” the company said in a statement. “The company will close its maritime office in Durham, N.C., end productizing Seaglider, and right-size the workforce by approximately 80 full-time employees and 11 contractors, or 13 percent of the total workforce.”

In announcing its quarterly earnings on Tuesday, iRobots warned that the outlook for its military robots had “deteriorated, and we expect further declines in 2013.”

“The 2012 outlook for D&S has deteriorated and we expect further declines in 2013,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot, in a statement.

 ”To right-size the business we have restructured D&S and taken costs out. These moves will result in a fourth quarter 2012 restructuring charge of $4-5 million,” he added. “We are taking these actions in order to invest in our high growth Home Robot business as well as our emerging high potential remote presence business, while meeting our commitment to profitable growth,”