DEFENCE and aerospace giant BAE Systems, which has two sites in Hampshire, has revealed a rise in profits and announced an increased dividend to shareholders.

The division is involved in developing air combat and defence information systems, as well as delivering support, maintenance and training to the RAF’s Typhoon, F-35 Lightning and Hawk fleets.

It employs nearly 13,000 people in its air sector sites, including at Portsmouth Naval Base and Broad Oak.  

BAE Systems’ revenue in the first six months of 2021 stood at £10billion, up from £9.87bn last year. Operating profit was up to £1.3bn from £808million.

The company has won a £250m contract from the Ministry of Defence to work on the design and development of Tempest, the UK’s future air combat system.

Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our employees across the Group, we have delivered a strong first half performance which underlines our confidence in the full year guidance for top line growth, margin expansion and three-year cash targets.

“We are well positioned for sustained growth in the coming years and are ramping up our investments in advanced technologies to deliver capabilities for our customers in the face of an evolving threat environment.

“Following the decisive action taken to accelerate our UK deficit pension payments in 2020, the committed investment in the business coupled with the good operational performance, we are driving enhanced cash generation. This enables us today to announce a five per cent increase in the interim dividend as well as initiating a new share buyback programme of up to £500m."