BAE Systems said on Wednesday its core first half earnings rose by 39 percent helped its U.S. operations, including a one off accounting gain there.

Europe's largest defence firm said its earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) rose to 788 million pounds, including a 63 million pound one off accounting gain in the United States.

We have no doubt that our robust long-term plan will deliver healthy, profitable growth for our shareholders, BAE Chief Executive Mike Turner said.

The company said in a statement to the London Stock Market, The good first half results underpin the outlook for the full year; that is for modest organic growth from our defence businesses together with a full year contribution from the former United Defence activities.

It bought United Defence, a U.S. armoured vehicle maker, in June 2005.

BAE received 592 million pounds worth of U.S. orders in the first six months of the year, including work for the U.S. Army to refurbish and upgrade M2 Bradley and M113 fighting vehicles being used in Iraq.

Overall operating profit rose to 653 million pounds, slightly above the 638 million forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll last week.

Underlying earnings per share increased by 44 percent to 15.4 pence.

Sales of 8.214 billion pounds were up 21 percent and the company proposed an interim dividend of 4.4p versus 4.0p a year earlier, BAE said.


Some weakening of the Airbus contribution is anticipated in the second half following a good first half performance and before taking account of the timing of the recommended disposal of the Group's 20 percent shareholding in that business, BAE said.

The company has set October 4 as the date for an extraordinary general meeting where it will ask shareholders to back the board's recommended sale of the stake.

BAE said its UK pension contributions would shrink in the second half.

We expect to turn operating profits into cash in the second half with this year's additional contributions to the UK pension schemes mostly concluded in the first half, it said.